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Rival House Candidates Both Attend New Member Orientation After Republican Declares Victory
Representatives-elect wear protective masks during a Congressional orientation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. With the pandemic raging the circumstances dictated that this orientation for the Republicans and Democrats elected last week bore little resemblance to previous sessions of introductions and briefings marked by plenty of glad-handing.
Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Both the Republican and Democratic congressional candidates for Iowa’s second district House seat traveled to the nation’s capital for new member orientation, a move that came after GOP candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks declared victory in the race. 

According to The Quad-City Times, both Miller-Meeks and Democratic candidate Rita Hart, neither of whom are incumbents, traveled to the new member orientation in Washington, D.C., this weekend, which is typical for candidates in uncalled or close races. 

And when Miller-Meeks declared victory last week, the margin separating the two candidates was as close as most races can get only 40 votes, per Iowa Public Radio.  

“I express my heartfelt gratitude to the voters of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and acknowledge my opponent Rita Hart’s grace and positive demeanor during this challenging campaign,” said Miller-Meeks in a statement.  “The election is over, and it is time to move forward together and focus on the priorities that will best serve Iowans.”

According to DecisionDeskHQ, Miller-Meeks now leads Hart by 47 votes, which accounts for a margin of .02%. Neither DecisionDeskHQ nor The Associated Press have called a winner in the race because of the slim margins. 

Meanwhile, the Democratic opponent in the race has called for a recount, citing “multiple consequential errors” in the race. 

“With so much at stake in this election and such a slim margin separating the candidates, Iowans deserve to know categorically that their ballots have been accurately counted,” said Hart’s campaign manager last week. 

The Hart campaign was likely referencing a Jasper County data entry error that yielded several hundred extra votes for Miller-Meeks before it was caught and a Lucas County precinct that reported test results instead of the actual election results. 

According to The Des Moines Register, after the Jasper County mistake was caught, officials conducted a machine recount and a hand recount to corroborate those results. 

Lucas County officials also conducted a county-wide machine recount, and an additional hand recount for the precinct that reported the error. The hand recount, conducted with members of both parties and the media present, confirmed the results of the machine recount, reports the news agency. 

The Miller-Meeks campaign has welcomed a “speedy and efficient recount process,” saying that it will “ensure once again that every legal vote has been counted,” according to CBS News.

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