Mariannette Miller-Meeks gives first interview as Congresswoman-Elect
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - By only six votes, Iowa’s second district has a certified winner. The Secretary of State certified Republican Congresswoman-Elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks as the winner of the southeast Iowa district that represents Iowa City, Davenport, and Ottumwa.
Miller-Meeks’ 6-vote win over Democrat Rita Hart is the closest margin for a U.S. House race in 36 years. The closest race in the nation became official today after the state canvassing board certified it this afternoon. A district-wide recount wrapped up on Saturday. In her first interview since being elected, Miller-Meeks talked to KCRG-TV9 about wanting to address the pandemic, and be ready for another one.
“We know that this is not going to be the only one so we really need to prepare ahead of time,” Miller-Meeks said. “Replenish stockpiles, preposition supplies, get manufacturing up.”
In a statement, Hart said “This is despite the fact that, at every turn, the Miller-Meeks campaign has sought to keep legitimate votes from being counted -- pushing to disqualify and limit the number of Iowans whose votes are counted.”
“All ballots have been counted,” Miller-Meeks said. “I’m ahead and so I was ahead on election night, I was ahead at the completion of the county canvass, I was ahead after the recount that they wanted, and I think it’s time to move on and get to do the work of the people in the second district.”
The second district results surprised University of Iowa Political Science Professor Tim Hagle.
“The second congressional district was always seen as something that was pretty strongly for the Democrat,” Hagle said.
Democrat Dave Loebsack represented the district for 14 years. Hagle said Miller-Meeks was able to capitalize off an open seat.
“With Miller-Meeks being both state senator and having ran 3 times in the district before,” Hagle said. “That’s certainly going to her an advantage to some extent with name recognition.”
Hagle believes Iowa’s second district could become a swing district.
“I would think that we’re still probably a swing district,” Hagle said. “What will happen is particularly for the Democrats is they are going to work even harder to mobilize the vote especially in a county like Johnson with the University of Iowa and all of the student votes.”
After running for the seat in 4 different elections, Miller-Meeks said she hopes she’s in office more than 2.
“I think if you’re responsive to the needs of people,” Miller-Meeks said. “You work to find solutions to the problems they face, then I think the voters are likely to re-elect you.”
Hart’s campaign issued a statement saying they will outline their next steps over the next few days Hart was not available for an interview when we reached out.
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