Republican House candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa’s second congressional district now leads her Democratic opponent by only six votes — out of nearly 400,000 ballots cast for the race — after a recount in the district diminished her razor-thin margin over Democrat Rita Hart.
Although the recounts narrowly nudged the tallies, it doesn’t appear to have been enough to completely whittle away the double-digit lead Miller-Meeks held over Hart as of two weeks ago, reports the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
“While the race is extraordinarily close, I am proud to have won this contest and look forward to being certified as the winner by the state’s Executive Council on Monday,” said Miller-Meeks in a statement on Saturday. “It is the honor of a lifetime to be elected to serve the people of eastern and southern Iowa. Iowans are tenacious, optimistic, and hard working, and I will take those same attributes to Washington, D.C., on their behalf.”
“From 24 years of service to our country in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves to my several decades of protecting the health of Iowans as a medical professional, I will bring that same Iowa grit to Congress by working to strengthen our healthcare system, combat the COVID pandemic, and get Iowans safely back to work and school,” she concluded.
It is the honor of a lifetime to be elected to serve the people of eastern and southern Iowa.
— Dr. Miller-Meeks (@millermeeks) November 28, 2020
According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, while the state canvassing board is scheduled to vote to certify the election on Monday, the Hart campaign has not revealed whether it plans to challenge the results. Should she challenge, certification could also be delayed.
“When we began this recount Rita Hart was down by 47 votes,” said a Hart campaign spokesperson. “As more ballots have been counted, the margin has narrowed dramatically and is now down to a mere 6 votes — making this the closest Congressional race in recent history, and one of the very closest in the last hundred years.”
“Unfortunately, as this process continues, the Miller-Meeks campaign has sought to keep legitimate votes from being counted — pushing to disqualify and limit the number of Iowans whose votes are counted,” the campaign spokesperson added. “We will closely review what the county and state boards do on Monday with an eye toward making sure all Iowa voices are fully and fairly heard.”
Miller-Meeks declared victory over Hart over two weeks ago, when the Republican candidate’s lead was still in double-digits. The Hart campaign called for a recount, which was welcomed by Miller-Meeks, and both of the candidates subsequently attended the House freshmen orientation, due to the election’s lingering uncertainty.
The dual House-orientation attendance is typical for candidates in uncalled or close congressional races, reported the Iowa newspaper Quad-City Times earlier this month. Miller-Meeks has run for Congress as the Republican nominee in the district four times since 2008, including her 2020 run, and currently serves as an Iowa state senator.