ELECTION 2020

Incoming Iowa Congress members urge U.S. House leaders to reject 2nd District challenge by Rita Hart campaign

(File Photo) Sen. Joni Ernst looks to Sen. Chuck Grassley while the group spoke to supporters at Signature Flight Suppor
(File Photo) Sen. Joni Ernst looks to Sen. Chuck Grassley while the group spoke to supporters at Signature Flight Support in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Ernst was joined by Ashley Hinson, who was then a candidate for the 1st District congressional seat, and Gov. Kim Reynolds on a final campaign tour of the state before Tuesday’s election. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa’s Republican U.S. senators and newly elected members of the state’s congressional delegation sent a letter Tuesday urging U.S. House leaders to reject Democrat Rita Hart’s pending petition challenging the outcome in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election

The letter, signed by U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Republican Reps.-elect Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, argues granting a petition for a full hand recount of ballots cast in the closest federal race in the country would set a dangerous precedent.

“Any action to bypass or overturn a fair election conducted according to Iowa law would not be well received by the citizens of our state and would result in a cloud over the results of such efforts,” the delegation wrote.

The letter was addressed to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Committee on Administration Chairman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Republican state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa was declared congresswoman-elect after a bipartisan canvassing board of top state officials voted unanimously Nov. 30 to officially certify the election results. Miller-Meeks edged Hart by six votes out of more than 400,000 cast following a districtwide recount in all 24 counties.

Hart, a former teacher and state senator from Wheatland, argues the recount was marred by errors, discrepancies and inconsistencies in how ballots were reviewed from county to county, resulting in thousands of ballots with recorded undervotes and overvotes not being examined for voter intent. Given the lack of consistent recount process across the district, Hart said she would ask the Democrat-controlled U.S. House to conduct a full review and hand recount of ballots.

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