House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters on Dec. 30 that she will seat Iowa Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Dec. 27 despite an ongoing challenge from her Democratic opponent, Rita Hart.
The race was decided by just six votes.
A spokesman for Pelosi, Drew Hammill, stated that regarding the Iowa race between Miller-Meeks and Hart, “every vote counts, and that’s why the Committee on House Administration is conducting a thorough and fair review of this election to make sure every vote is counted as cast.”
“Pending the outcome of the Committee’s review … we intend to provisionally seat [Miller-Meeks] on Sunday,” Hammill said. Hart last week had called for the House Administration Committee’s investigation into the Iowa 2nd Congressional District election.
Iowa certified Miller-Meeks as the winner of the race.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) previously said there’s no reason why the tiny, six-vote margin of victory should preclude Miller-Meeks from being seated in Congress next week. He made the comment before Pelosi confirmed she would do so.
“Refusing to seat Rep.-elect Miller-Meeks on January 3rd would be an unprecedented power grab by Speaker Pelosi,” Davis said in a statement. “The Speaker’s narrow margin, which could be as few as seven, should not be a factor when considering whether or not to seat a member-elect.
“Rep.-elect Miller-Meeks has been certified the winner by the State of Iowa.”
Davis said that Hart and Pelosi are at risk of a “dangerous precedent” being carried out.
House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), said Hart “had an opportunity to challenge each of these claims using Iowa’s impartial judicial proceedings, but instead, she has chosen to sidestep Iowa law and ask Speaker Pelosi to decide this election for Iowa voters.”
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) echoed those comments.
“By going to Nancy Pelosi to fix her election loss, Rita Hart is seeking a partisan political solution to a nonpartisan democratic process,” the two Iowa senators said in a statement. “This is a direct attack on Iowa’s elections system, to democracy in Iowa, and on Iowans themselves.”
Hart last week filed a 176-page complaint with the House Administration Committee. Hart said there were 22 ballots that weren’t included in the initial tally and recounts, saying they should have been included and if so, she would be the winner.
“Everyone has acknowledged that there are uncounted votes left. And after reviewing those ballots and making sure they are counted, it will be clear that I have won this election,” Hart said in a statement, according to Politico. “It is crucial to me to make sure that this bipartisan review by the U.S. House is fair.”