Speculation about who won a closely contested U.S. House race in Iowa seems to be over.
A Republican who won her contest by just six votes, Iowa’s Mariannette Miller-Meeks, will be seated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as the provisional winner on Sunday, the Democrat leader has confirmed, according to Politico.
A question of 22 ballots
Iowa certified Miller-Meeks as the state’s new U.S. representative from House District 2 following a recount, but her Democratic opponent, Rita Hart, is not conceding the race.
Hart says that about 22 ballots were wrongly tossed out and that they were decisive in her putative defeat by a margin of just six votes. The Democrat has asked the House to conduct an investigation of the race that could take months, Politico reports, an unusual move that has prompted criticism for bypassing the courts.
“Twenty-two voters in Iowa’s Second Congressional District still have not had their legally-cast votes counted and thousands of other voters have not had their ballots examined,” Hart said, according to KCCI 8 in Des Moines.
Pelosi confirms Republican win
For now, Pelosi has chosen to seat Miller-Meeks on Jan. 3, when Pelosi herself will face a contest for re-election as speaker.
Miller-Meeks stepped down from the Iowa state Senate in light of the news.
“It has been one of the great honors of my life to have been elected to the Iowa Senate and serve the people of District 41. I look forward to working on behalf of all of the people in the 2nd Congressional District as their new U.S. representative,” she said, according to KCCI 8.
A “thorough and fair review”
Pelosi wants the new Congress to begin smoothly, and Democrats are said to be wary of the optics of Hart’s demands to take a second look at the 2nd District race, Politico notes — particularly in light of President Donald Trump’s challenges in the presidential race, which Democrats have more or less likened to an act of treason.
Still, Pelosi’s office has said that “every vote counts” and that she will allow a “thorough and fair review of this election to make sure every vote was counted and counted as cast.”
“Pending the outcome of the Committee’s review and consistent with House practice, we intend to provisionally seat the Republican candidate on Sunday,” Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hamill said this week, according to Politico.
Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has called for a special election on Jan. 26 to fill the state Senate seat being vacated by Miller-Meeks, KCCI 8 reports.