ICYMI: Will House Democrats Steal a Congressional Seat in Iowa's 2nd District?

Dec 21, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (IL-13) published this op-ed in The Hill asking Democrats whether or not they plan to take up a federal contest in Iowa's 2nd District where Rep.-elect Marriannette Miller-Meeks was certified the winner after a bipartisan recount board in every single county conducted a recount of the votes. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairperson Zoe Lofgren have been silent on whether or not they will seek to overturn this election.

CLICK HERE for the full op-ed or read key excerpts below.



Will House Democrats steal a congressional seat in Iowa's 2nd District?
BY REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R-ILL.), OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 12/17/20 04:30 PM EST

Davis notes the 'Bloody Eighth' in 1985, which was the last time Democrats stole a congressional seat. CLICK HERE for video coverage of the 1985 federal contest.

In 1985, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives decided an election and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) could do it again.

The day after the election in 1984, Republican Richard McIntyre was ahead of incumbent Democrat Frank McCloskey by 34 votes and after the state’s recount, McIntyre’s lead grew to 418 votes. In the weeks following the election, McIntyre was certified the winner of Indiana’s 8th District.

But come January 1985, House Democrats refused to seat McIntyre.

Instead, McCloskey filed a federal contest with the House and Democrats sent a partisan task force to Indiana. They then determined ballots not valid under Indiana law should have been counted.

They changed the rules. Under the new rules, McCloskey was now ahead by 4 votes.

On May 1, 1985, the House voted to seat McCloskey. Ten Democrats joined every Republican in voting against seating him.

To seat Hart, Democrats would need to change the rules and count votes not legal under Iowa law.

Democrats are looking to change the rules of the game after the game has already been played, which is something they have tried to do throughout the 2020 cycle. In court case after court case, Washington Democrats have sought to change the rules people in that state vote under — even after voting has already begun. One example in the last election is in North Carolina where Democrats tried to change the requirements for absentee ballots even after 300,000 voters had already cast their ballots. This would mean some voters would cast their ballots under a different set of rules than the rest of North Carolina.

In Iowa's 2nd District, a recount - using a bipartisan process involving both campaigns - was done in every county.

In Iowa’s 2nd District, every legal vote was counted and we know this because the votes were counted and recounted using a timely, transparent, and bipartisan process. Bipartisan recount boards in all 24 counties — including a member appointed by the Miller-Meeks campaign, a member appointed by the Hart campaign, and their agreed upon third member — conducted the recount. Following the recount, Iowa’s bipartisan State Canvassing Board voted unanimously to declare Rep.-elect Dr. Miller-Meeks the winner on Nov. 30.

Taking up a federal contest in which the challenging candidate didn't exhaust all of their state's legal options would set a terrible precedent.

Hart most likely skipped over this process because her claims of additional votes under Iowa law are illegitimate and she would not be able to win her case in court. But if Washington Democrats change the rules, perhaps she can prevail.

The House taking up this federal contest would tell candidates everywhere that you don’t need to exhaust all of your appeal options within your state. Just bring your case to the House and if your party is in charge, they’ll change the rules to make sure you win. This is a terrible message to send.

Speaker Pelosi and Chairperson Lofgren need to answer this question for the American people, but they've remained silent.

The partisan federal contest of 1985 eroded public trust in our elections and undermined the integrity of our election process. Moving forward with a federal contest in Iowa’s 2nd District — when the candidate’s judicial option was not even pursued – would be purely a political decision, especially given Speaker Pelosi’s razor-thin majority.

House Democrats have a choice to make: stand with Iowans or Speaker Pelosi?

116th Congress