Rita Hart, Iowa Democrat, asks Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats to overturn her loss


An Iowa Democrat who lost her election bid by six votes said Wednesday she will ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House to overturn the certified result and declare her the winner.

The move is striking, at a time when Democrats and much of the political press is criticizing President Trump for similar challenges in his race against Democrat Joseph R. Biden for the White House.

Iowa this week certified Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, as the winner in the state’s second congressional district, defeating Rita Hart, the Democratic candidate.

Ms. Hart could have challenged the result in Iowa but didn’t.

Instead, Republicans said, she “ran to Speaker Pelosi” to try to get a favorable ruling from fellow Democrats in Washington.

“This utterly shameful attempt to upend the will of the voters of the 2nd District will leave the very people Hart wished to represent voiceless in Washington, D.C. until this sham is sorted out,” said Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party.

Ms. Hart, in a statement, said several reporting errors triggered recounts that “have led to confusion over whom Iowans in the Second District elected.”

She said not all ballots were re-tallied during recounts, and she cast her challenge as a way to make sure all of them get a review.

“With a margin this small, it is critical that we take this next step to ensure Iowans’ ballots that were legally cast are counted,” said campaign manager Zach Meunier.

The contested election will be investigated by the House Administration Committee.

Rep. Rodney Davis, the ranking Republican on that panel, said he’s still “confident” Ms. Miller-Meeks will emerge the winner.

“Rita Hart had the opportunity to object to the State’s certification, but did not do so, likely because it was clear she could not win,” he said.

The refusal by a Democrat to accept certified results is likely to fuel supporters of Mr. Trump, who believe he has valid reasons for contesting his apparent loss.

His challenges, though, focus more on tossing out votes that have been counted, but which he says were illegally cast or tallied.

The Congressional Research Service says options for the House include dismissing the complaint, ruling in favor of one party or the other, or even voiding the election.

In one case from the 1980s, both candidates — the incumbent Democrat and his Republican challenger, who was certified the winner by Indiana — were given staff and paid salaries, though neither was sworn in.

Congress tasked its investigative agency, then known as the General Accounting Office, with doing a recount. It reversed the count, finding the Democrat incumbent won by four votes.

The Democrat-led House accepted that finding, blocking the Republican and giving the seat to one of their own.

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