OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
House Speaker and California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who has talked incessantly about respecting the will of the voters, says she would consider casting aside the will of the voters in Iowa to get another Democrat in the House of Representatives.
In the race for Iowa’s Second Congressional District, Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks defeated her Democratic rival Rita Hart by only six votes to win the spot, but now Pelosi says she could see a scenario is which Hart would be given that spot, The Western Journal reported.
Hart has appealed to the House through the Federal Contested Election Act to overturn the results. The act allows elections to be decided by the House and not the courts. Hart claims there were 22 ballots not counted that could have swung the race, and has said that the methods of performing a recount varied from county to county, meaning the results should not be trusted.
On Wednesday, the House Administration Committee set aside a request from Miller-Meeks to reject Hart’s claim, Fox News reported.
That prompted a question about the process during Pelosi’s weekly media briefing.
“Could you see a scenario depending on what they found in their probe of unseating the current number and seating Rita Hard if it came to that?” a reporter asked Pelosi.
“Well, I respect the work of the committee. I did see, as you saw in the press, what they decided to … And they were following my, as I read it, the requirements of the law as to how you go forward. And how you go forward is the path you’re on and we’ll see where that takes us. But there could be a scenario to that extent. Yes,” she said.
Hart’s challenge to Miller-Meeks win is not done, as it was tabled along a party line vote in the House where a committee voted 6 – 3, Democrats to Republicans, not to dismiss Hart’s petition.
“The committee’s vote today was procedural. Congresswoman Miller-Meeks’ motion to dismiss is still pending. The Congresswoman’s legal team will prepare and file the answer to the notice of contest. In the meantime, the Congresswoman is focused on serving the needs of her constituents. Rita Hart’s contest has no more merit today than it did when it was filed. Her refusal to put her claims before neutral judges in Iowa tells us everything we need to know about the weakness of her case. Hart ignored Iowa law during the recount and again when she failed to make her case before a contest court in Iowa. She hopes that her fellow Democrats in Washington D.C. will ignore Iowa law and the precedents of the House to grant her the seat in Congress that the voters denied her. Hart’s power quest is wrong and damages our electoral system,” Miller-Meeks campaign attorney, Alan Ostergren, said.
Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan, who serves as the chief deputy whip, said that changing the election winner could damage the Democrats.
“I think our default setting for many of us — is trust the local process,” he said. “We’ve been making that argument for two months now, it’s pretty hard to make a different argument when it’s convenient.”
It was Pelosi herself who ignored the Democrat pleas months ago when she seated Miller-Meeks as Hart argued that she was the winner.
“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 was counted and counted as cast,” Drew Hammill, the Speaker’s spokesman said in a statement after Pelosi’s press conference. “Pending the outcome of the Committee’s review and consistent with House practice, we intend to provisionally seat the Republican candidate on Sunday.”