House Democratic leadership have reportedly “blessed” an effort to oust GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) from her seat after her Democratic opponent appealed the election to the House.
Miller-Meeks beat Democratic candidate Rita Hart by six votes in one of the closest elections in U.S. history in November. In a constitutional and politically fraught move, Hart appealed the election to the House to adjudicate, bypassing the legal remedies offered by the courts. The House has ruled in 110 such cases in its history, and in all but three cases the outcome was upheld, according to Politico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the rest of the party’s leadership is backing an effort to make the challenge to Miller-Meeks’ seat the fourth. As Politico reports:
The Iowa case could become the fourth. Rep. ZOE LOFGREN (D-Calif.), who chairs the Administration panel that will adjudicate the first part of this case — and is a longtime ally of Speaker NANCY PELOSI — has said her panel members are keeping an open mind, that nothing is predetermined and that Hart has the burden of proof.
But a source close to the process confirmed to Playbook that the effort to oust Miller-Meeks in favor of Hart has been blessed by the top echelons of House Democratic leadership. And the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] has brought in — and is paying the legal fees for — top Democratic election lawyer MARC ELIAS, this person said.
Democrats maintain that the House Admin’s rulings and the motivations of the DCCC are two different things — but it would be politically naive to believe that. The judge in this case is essentially the prosecutor — and yes, this is totally allowed under the Constitution.
Elias spearheaded Democratic challenges to state election laws ahead of the 2020 election, using the pandemic to argue in favor of rolling back election protection measures and embracing mail-in voting. Prior to 2020, he built a lengthy history fighting for the Democratic Party and progressive causes.
Elias said in a statement on the case, “Federal law provides that this contest is the proper avenue to ensure that all legal ballots are counted and we have presented credible evidence to support their inclusion in the final tally.”
Pelosi has pushed the election challenge against Miller-Meeks for weeks, signaling her approval to overturn the election even if that means suffering stiff blowback from Republicans and potentially facing electoral consequences in the future.
“It was six votes, and our candidate Rita Hart, the Democratic candidate asked for this process to begin. What the committee did, the House Administration Committee, was very narrow to take the process to the next step and see where it goes from there. An election of six votes out of 400,000 votes cast. This is not unique,” Pelosi said last week.
Pelosi also called Republicans hypocrites for opposing the House review of the Iowa election. Democrats heavily criticized Republicans who voted to challenge the state-certified election results on Jan. 6. The Democrats have also shifted positions, however, backing a challenge to election results certified by Iowa state officials that would benefit their own party.
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