House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Democrats moving forward to overturn an Iowa congressional race captured by Republicans after recounts decided the contest by six votes.
Iowa freshman GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks won the close contest, which was certified by state election officials. She was seated in the House of Representatives in January. Her failed Democrat opponent, Rita Hart, however, bypassed state avenues for appeal and triggered a congressional mechanism to contest the results directly in the U.S. House controlled by her own party.
“The votes were counted, re-counted, certified by the state, but the House Administration Committee began a process this week that could lead to unseating the congresswoman,” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos said on “This Week” Sunday. “Why investigate an election that was certified by the state?”
“Well, it was six votes,” Pelosi said on the flagship Sunday political program, dismissing the democratic process and those voters’ civil rights. “It was six votes and our candidate, Rita Hart… 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.”
Pelosi said at an afternoon press conference last Thursday that the House speaker presiding over the slimmest majority of her congressional career could see a scenario play out, governed by Democrats, where Hart could take a seat in the lower chamber. Pelosi currently holds a nine-vote advantage over Republicans, raising the stakes of the Iowa contest to offer the House speaker more room to control her caucus.
“I respect the committee … We’ll see where that takes us,” Pelosi said.
Miller-Meeks railed against Democrats’ efforts to undermine the voters in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district on Fox News Friday.
“There is no doubt in my mind, and there is no doubt in the bipartisan executive council who has certified me the winner. So it was not only the secretary of state, it was a bipartisan executive council,” Miller-Meeks said of the likelihood she won the race fairly. “Iowa law is what determines what our election process is, how the ballots are included, and all of that was done. What my opponent wants to do is to violate Iowa law, to go against Iowa law, and go against the representation of the voters of Iowa, and disenfranchise 400,000 voters.”
Hart’s challenge rests upon 22 ballots the Democrat’s campaign alleges were improperly rejected. Hart’s campaign argues had they been counted, the Democratic candidate would have won the race by a nine-vote margin.