Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be seated Sunday to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, even as a battle continues over the contest, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Weeks after the Nov. 3 election, Miller-Meeks was declared the winner over Democrat Rita Hart by six votes out of more than 400,000 votes cast, according to the Quad-City Times.
Rather than go through the Iowa court system, Hart has appealed to the House through the Federal Contested Election Act to overturn the results, which has started a months-long process of investigation.
Until that process is finished, and beyond it if the House probe agrees with the state’s recount, Miller-Meeks will hold the seat, Pelosi said at a news conference Wednesday.
“Every vote counts and that’s why the Committee on House Administration is conducting a thorough and fair review of this election to make sure every vote was counted and counted as cast,” Pelosi’s spokesperson, Drew Hammill, added in a statement.
“Pending the outcome of the Committee’s review and consistent with House practice, we intend to provisionally seat the Republican candidate on Sunday.”
Hart claims there were 22 ballots not counted that could have swung the race, and has said that the recount performed in Iowa varied in method from county to county, meaning the results should not be trusted.
Although procedurally Democrats could still object Sunday to seating Miller-Meeks, politically it is not an attractive option, according to one Democrat.
“Folks are anxious about it, for good reason,” Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, House Democrats’ chief deputy whip, told the Washington Examiner.
“For most of us, we’re wired to accept the results that are certified by state and county, canvassers, and it’s very difficult for us to reach into somebody else’s tabulations and decide for ourselves that we want to change the outcome unless there is compelling, overwhelming evidence to support the case, and I haven’t looked at that. I haven’t seen it,” Kildee said.
“I think our default setting for many of us — is trust the local process,” Kildee said, noting that Democrats have been saying the apparent result of the presidential election should be accepted.
“We’ve been making that argument for two months now, it’s pretty hard to make a different argument when it’s convenient,” he said.
According to the Congressional Research Service, three candidates who tried Hart’s tactic were successful between 1933 and 2009, with the most recent instance taking place in 1984, when the state of Indiana certified Republican Rick McIntyre as the winner, prompting Democrat Frank McCloskey to turn to the House.
Although McIntyre had held a 34-vote lead when Indiana certified its results, when the Democrat-majority House was done with its recount, McCloskey was named with the winner by four votes.
One House seat is likely to remain vacant Sunday.
As of Wednesday, Republican former Rep. Claudia Tenney had taken a 29-vote lead over Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi in New York state’s 22nd Congressional District, according to Syracuse.com.
Each candidate has led at various stages of the recount process, which will continue through at least into next week as a judge reviews several hundred disputed ballots.