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Thomas Gallatin / December 8, 2020

Will House Dems Overturn Two GOP Wins?

A sore-losing Iowa incumbent calls for the House to overturn her narrow election loss.

Much of the nation is still focused on the outcome of the presidential election, with Donald Trump and his legal team alleging widespread voter fraud, and Democrats and their mainstream media brethren deriding him for having refused to concede while they falsely claim a fraud-free election.

In two razor-thin House races, however — one in Iowa and the other in New York — the Republican candidates have been certified as winners only to have the Democrats challenge the results, though thus far to no avail.

In Iowa, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks beat Democrat Rita Hart by just six votes out of 390,000 cast. After two weeks of haggling and the canvassing and re-canvassing of the votes, Iowa’s state legislature on Monday certified Miller-Meeks, flipping yet another seat Democrats had previously held. But Hart, refusing to concede, has instead elected to play dirty. She’s calling on House Democrats to dust off a controversial 1969 statute last used 35 years ago. Essentially, Hart wants the Committee on House Administration to apply the statute so her Democrat colleagues can override the will of Iowa’s voters.

The Supreme Court has held that the House, not the courts, has the final say on its members’ elections under the Constitution’s Article I. The goal of Congresswoman Hart and her lawyers, then, would be to cast enough doubt on the outcome to provide sufficient cover for overturning it.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board highlighted the most recent use of the statute, noting, “House Democrats in 1985 took advantage of the same process to reverse Indiana’s state certification of a Republican winner in a Congressional race. They refused to seat either candidate in January, and in May declared the Democrat the winner after their recount excluded 32 absentee votes.”

Meanwhile, in New York’s 22nd District, Republican Claudia Tenney has beaten Democrat incumbent Anthony Brindisi in the preliminary final count. Tenney’s lead is a tenuous 12 votes, but Brindisi’s lawyers have asked the courts to review the county election board’s decision on certain disputed ballots. Failing that, Brindisi might make the same request of House Democrats that Iowa’s Hart is making.

If these two wins hold up, the Republicans will have gained 12 House seats. This leaves the Democrats with a slim nine-seat majority, and this after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company were predicting a gain of that many seats themselves. Gone is any perceived mandate for Pelosi. The question is whether House Democrats will give in to their worst political instincts and find a way to seat their fellow Democrats instead of the apparently rightful Republican winners.

Would Pelosi seek to justify such a blatantly partisan power grab by pointing to Trump’s legal challenges of the presidential election? The 117th Congress will be seated on January 3. Until then, sadly, anything is possible.

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