OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Several Democrats considered to be moderate lawmakers have lined up to question or oppose an effort said to be backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and party leaders to strip an Iowa Republican of her seat and award it to her opponent after a narrow six-vote victory that has been certified by state election officials.
“This election result was certified by the State of Iowa and Rep. Miller-Meeks was sworn in nearly three months ago,” Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire said in a statement to Fox News. “As I said when Republicans challenged the Electoral College votes on January 6th, the election is over and it’s time to move on.”
Pappas was commenting on the House Administration Committee’s consideration of a challenge by Democrat Rita Hart to GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ victory. According to Politico, Democratic leaders are in favor of taking the seat away from Miller-Meeks and awarding it to Hart based on her claims that 22 votes for her were improperly tossed out by Iowa election officials — votes she needs to claim victory.
Politico Playbook notes:
Just weeks after blasting DONALD TRUMP for trying to overturn the Electoral College, House Democrats are about to try to reverse the outcome of a House election in Iowa to pad their slim majority by an extra seat. …
Rep. ZOE LOFGREN (D-Calif.), who chairs the Administration panel that will adjudicate the first part of this case — and is a longtime ally of Speaker NANCY PELOSI — has said her panel members are keeping an open mind, that nothing is predetermined and that Hart has the burden of proof.
But a source close to the process confirmed to Playbook that the effort to oust Miller-Meeks in favor of Hart has been blessed by the top echelons of House Democratic leadership. And the DCCC has brought in — and is paying the legal fees for — top Democratic election lawyer MARC ELIAS, this person said.
Elias, who helped fight dozens of Trump’s frivolous election law claims in court this winter, doesn’t wade into any old House race. His presence alone signals that Democratic leaders want to take this all the way and flip the seat into Democrats’ control.
In January, Miller-Meeks was sworn in only provisionally by Pelosi, who just two weeks ago when asked if she could replace her with Hart said: “there could be a scenario to that extent.”
But despite what leadership may want, rank-and-file Democrats, many from swing districts, are beginning to balk.
Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, North Carolina Rep. David Price, Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, and California Rep. Lou Correa have all said they aren’t sure that removing Miller-Meeks is something that Democrats ought to be doing after her victory was certified by state officials.
“Losing a House election by six votes is painful for Democrats. But overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” Phillips wrote on Twitter Monday.
“The standard [for overturning an election] has to be a very high standard,” Kildee told the Wall Street Journal. “Unless we see compelling evidence that there’s something seriously wrong, then we should defer to state and local officials.”
“I think these are issues that right now are probably best left at the state level,” Correa told CNN.
“I don’t think there’s the slightest chance that that would happen,” Price told Fox News after he was asked to comment on whether the Democrat-controlled House will overturn the election. “I have confidence that all sides of the House Administration Committee process are well aware of how sensitive and how difficult this is.”
Democrat @RepDavidEPrice: “I don’t think there’s the slightest chance” Democrats will vote to overturn the state-certified results in #IA02. Sore loser @RitaHartIA is losing support by the day. pic.twitter.com/ShmUS4EXC1
— Mike Berg (@MikeKBerg) March 21, 2021
Democrats only have a 219-211 margin, so Pelosi cannot afford too many defections — though by law, if the Administration Committee (which is 6-3 Democrats-to-Republicans) votes to send the issue to the full House, it will take just a bare majority to send Miller-Meeks packing.