Contested 2nd Congressional District race still unresolved

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 8:33 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Despite backlash from Republicans, Democrat Rita Hart is still fighting in the race for Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Hart lost to Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks by six votes after a recount.

Hart filed a petition with the US House, claiming 22 votes should have been counted that would have given her the victory. Miller-Meeks filed to get the petition thrown out.

Republicans argue Hart politicizing the process, and appealing to the Democratic House instead of the Iowa Courts. But Hart says she did not see that as an option.

“Because of the time restraints, because of the flawed process, because these votes need to be recounted,” said Hart. “This pathway of going through the Federal Contested Elections Act is the pathway to get this done.”

The attorney for Miller-Meeks, Alan Ostergren disagrees. He believes it would have been a fast process in the Iowa courts. “The fact that she skipped that process,” said Ostergren. “And chose one controlled by her own political party run by Nancy Pelosi, tells you that she knows that her side doesn’t actually have any merit.”

Hart is facing accusations that her appeal is deepening political divides, but she sees her appeal as essential to the process.

“Our democracy depends on the ability to make sure that people who cast a legally cast vote gets those votes counted,” she said.

The Miller-Meeks camp sees it differently, claiming Hart is trying to undo the will of voters. “They’re purposing denying representation to 3-quarters of a million Iowans,” said Ostergren. “Who would not have a representative in Congress they elected, because she can’t accept the fact that she lost this race.”

“I think that reasonable people want to know that this election made sure that every vote was counted,” said Hart. Ultimately now it isn’t up to Iowa voters, only what a House panel decides happens next, and right now, there is no timeline for that decision.

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