Pelosi to seat Miller-Meeks while Hart appeal continues

By: - December 30, 2020 1:34 pm

Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, right, tours Weiler Products in Knoxville with company President Pat Weiler before the November election. (Photo courtesy of The Concept Works Inc.)

Democratic U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she will seat Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks even as Democratic candidate Rita Hart appeals the 2nd Congressional District election results to a House committee. 

Congresswoman-elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks will be seated even as Democrat Rita Hart challenges the election results. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Senate)

A state committee earlier certified Miller-Meeks, making her fourth run for the seat, as the winner by six votes. Hart contended not all legal votes were counted, and appealed the results to the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Democratic Party. The Associated Press has not called the race, the winner of which will replace retiring Democratic Congressman Dave Loebsack in representing southeast Iowa. 

Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist and military veteran, tweeted Wednesday that she has submitted her resignation from the Iowa Senate, where she has served since 2019. 

“Today I have submitted my letter of resignation from the Iowa Senate to Gov. @KimReynoldsIA. It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve the people of Iowa in the State Senate. I look forward to continuing my service to Iowans in the U.S. Congress. #ia02,” Miller-Meeks tweeted. 

In a statement, Hart noted her earlier filing with the House detailing 22 legal votes that had not been counted that would turn the election in her favor. She added “thousands of other voters have not had their ballots examined.”

Former Iowa Sen. Rita Hart, a Democrat, ran for the 2nd Congressional District seat. (Photo courtesy of Hart campaign)

Hart, a former state senator and former teacher from Wheatland, said the House committee is bipartisan and has the power to do a full recount. Hart previously ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor.

“Iowans deserve to know that they will be represented by the candidate who received the most votes in this race,” Hart said. “A review of the uncounted ballots in this election proves that I am that candidate.” 

The race was one of the closest of all time

Several counties corrected errors in the aftermath of the Nov. 3 election. Miller-Meeks has declared victory several times, but Hart had claimed additional errors and omissions in vote tabulations.

Miller-Meeks said on Iowa PBS’ “Iowa Press” that votes for her also weren’t counted, and she suggested state election laws may need to change.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.