House Democrats Begin Process To Potentially Unseat GOP Congresswoman, Replace With Democrat Opponent
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 4: Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, and Burgess Owens, R-Utah, are seen during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 4, 2021.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Democrats have started the process of determining whether a Republican congresswoman was the legitimate winner of her race in Iowa — a process that could ultimately end with Democrats deciding to seat the congresswoman’s Democrat opponent.

Democrats on the House Administration Committee have turned their attention to Democrat Rita Hart’s claims that Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) was not the legitimate winner of November’s election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.

“The House Administration Committee gathered virtually Friday afternoon to finalize the process by which it will adjudicate Hart’s claim, which was filed under the Federal Contested Elections Act. The committee has been largely silent since Hart first made her contest in December, but the hearing suggests that it is preparing to review the matter further,” Politico reported. “At the center of Hart’s complaint are 22 ballots that her campaign says were improperly rejected.”

Miller-Meeks won the district by a total of six votes, making it one of the closest federal elections in recent history, according to the report. Democrats have a razor-thin majority in the House, and if Hart were to be seated, it would give them a tiny bit more breathing room.

“The last time the House chose to overturn a state-certified election was an acrimonious affair. After the 1984 elections, the House Democratic majority refused to seat the Republican challenger to Democratic Rep. Frank McCloskey,” the report added. “A Republican official in Indiana certified the GOP candidate, Richard McIntyre, as the winner, but a recount conducted by Congress found McCloskey won by 4 votes. When the House Democrats voted to seat McCloskey, Republicans stormed out of the chamber in protest.”

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Ranking Member on the House Administration Committee, said, “I can’t think of a worst first step this committee could take in a new Congress than to waste taxpayer dollars by moving forward with overturning this election.”

Davis cited the 1984 election result out of Indiana during Friday’s meeting, warning that Democrats could try to play the same game now.

“Ballots that were not legal under the state law were suddenly determined legal votes under new rules invented by a partisan task force, who completely rejected state law,” Davis said. “They changed the rules of the game after the game had already been played. And that’s exactly what could be happening 35 years later.”

Republicans won another nail biter in a House race out of New York earlier this month when a state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte ruled that Claudia Tenney must be certified as the winner of the state’s 22nd Congressional District over Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D).

“DelConte panned local elections boards for ‘systemic violations of state and federal election law,’ including the Oneida County’s failure to process more than 2,400 voter applications,” The Hill reported. “However, the judge ruled it is not the court’s job to rectify those errors.”

Correction: This article has been updated to replace Miller-Meek’s name with Hart’s name in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph. 

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