Iowa lawmakers warn Pelosi, House leaders not to interfere in tight congressional race

One Iowa congressional district has been the object of intense scrutiny this year after Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks eked out the narrowest of wins against Democrat Rita Hart, with a recount showing the GOP candidate ahead by just six votes.

Hart doesn’t seem to be taking the defeat well, however, and she has her sights set on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for help overturning her opponent’s victory. Now, however, Republican lawmakers from Hart’s own state are asking House leaders, including Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), not to play along.

According to the Washington Examiner, Miller-Meeks’ win in Iowa’s 2nd District was certified by the state’s canvassing board on Nov. 30. Two days later, Hart announced that she would be contesting the outcome.

But as the Examiner noted in its Tuesday report, Hart didn’t seek relief in the courts; rather, she’s hoping to go all the way to the lower chamber of Congress.

Changing the results

It’s an idea that Republican Iowa Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have warned “would create a dangerous precedent.”

The pair of GOP legislators made their position known in a Tuesday letter that was also signed by incoming Iowa Reps. Randall Feenstra and Ashley Hinson, the Examiner reported.

“We write to express our deep concern with the effort of Rita Hart to contest her loss to Representative-elect Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa’s Second Congressional District,” the letter began.

“As you know,” the lawmakers wrote, “Dr. Miller-Meeks was recently certified as the winner of this contest. Ms. Hart has stated publicly she intends to invoke the Federal Contested Elections Act (FCEA), 2 U.S.C. § 381, et seq., to change the result of this election.”

In doing so, the Republicans accused Hart of trying “to circumvent Iowa’s established process and fair and impartial court system.”

Circumventing election laws

“[Hart] is choosing to circumvent Iowa election laws providing for a nonpartisan judicial process to seek a partisan-based judgment to overturn an outcome certified by a bipartisan state canvassing board,” the Republican lawmakers wrote Tuesday. “Her strategy displaces a nonpartisan process for a partisan one. That would create a dangerous precedent and should be rejected.”

Miller-Meeks seems to have taken a similar position, with her attorney, Alan Ostergren, arguing earlier this month that Hart avoided the courts because she knew what the outcome would be.

“Rita Hart has chosen to avoid Iowa’s judicial system because she knows that a fair, objective analysis of this election would show what we already know: Miller-Meeks won,” Ostergren said, according to The Hill. “All Iowans should be outraged by this decision.”

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