Georgia secretary of state wades into fight over who won Iowa congressional race

By: - March 18, 2021 5:00 pm

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks in a video posted by her campaign Dec. 22, 2020. (Screen shot of Miller-Meeks campaign video)

WASHINGTON — Georgia’s secretary of state, who drew national attention when then-President Donald Trump pressured him to change the state’s November election results, is warning Georgia Democrats in Congress against voting to seat an Iowa Democrat who claims she was the rightful winner in a House race last year.

Brad Raffensperger is Georgia’s secretary of state. (Photo courtesy of Georgia Secretary of State’s Office)

Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, weighed in on the election challenge pending in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in a letter Thursday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the eight Georgia Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate. That includes Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, whose victories gave Senate Democrats control of the chamber.

He compared the challenge filed by Iowa Democrat Rita Hart over her six-vote loss to the tumultuous situation in Georgia during its statewide recount of presidential results. Raffensberger, his family, and election workers throughout the state received death threats and other harassment after he resisted Trump.

“Georgia’s election workers sacrificed too much to provide a fair election to watch their elected officials stand idly by as another state is robbed of fair representation for partisan gain,” Raffensperger wrote.

He argued that siding with Hart in the pending election challenge would require “overturning the will of the voters” in that Iowa district, and that Georgia’s congressional delegation should be “outspoken in their disgust” over the election challenge.

The issue is now pending before the U.S. House Committee on Administration, which handles election challenges.

Hart has argued that at least 22 votes were not counted due to errors by election officials, and she has asked the Democratic-controlled House to determine whether Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks was rightfully seated in January.

Republicans in Iowa and on Capitol Hill have criticized Hart for not challenging the election results in state court before asking Congress to resolve the issue.

Hart’s campaign has argued she did not do so because Iowa statute does not offer enough time for a sufficient appeal process.

A spokesman for Pelosi referred questions to the House Committee on Administration, which did not offer a response to the Georgia letter.

Pelosi was asked about the election challenge during an ABC News interview on Sunday, and she defended the process against claims from Republicans who say the election challenge is politically motivated after Democrats opposed Trump’s failed attempts to review election results.

“For them to call anybody hypocritical about elections when two-thirds of them in the House voted against accepting the presidency of Joe Biden is — well, it’s just who they are,” Pelosi said.

Several members of Georgia’s congressional delegation did not respond to requests for comment on the letter.

It’s not clear when the House panel will resolve the election challenge.

Earlier this month, the Administration Committee voted on party lines to delay consideration of a motion by Miller-Meeks to throw out the challenge. The panel is gathering evidence on the merits of Hart’s challenge, beginning with a series of questions for both candidates on the legal principles and timelines involved in the case.

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Laura Olson
Laura Olson

Laura covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Iowa Capital Dispatch. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections, and campaign finance.