Opinion | The Home Battle Heats Up

Rita Hart solutions a query throughout a debate with Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Oct. 8.


Rebecca F. Miller/Related Press

How bloody-minded will Democrats be with their precariously skinny Home majority? We’re about to seek out out as Speaker

Nancy Pelosi’s

caucus considers an election problem from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional district.

On Nov. 30, Iowa licensed Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks the winner of the district, which extends southeast of Des Moines and is presently held by a Democrat. The margin was six votes.

On Tuesday Democrat

Rita Hart

submitted a temporary asking the Home of Representatives to overturn that consequence. Authored by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias, it says counting 22 principally absentee ballots would give Ms. Hart a nine-vote lead. The temporary asks the Home to order one other recount and use its constitutional authority to seat Ms. Hart as a substitute.

Among the many causes the ballots had been wrongly excluded, the temporary says, are signature placement, envelope seal and timeliness.

Ms. Miller-Meeks’s

marketing campaign should file a response, which may increase different poll disputes, inside 30 days. Her marketing campaign mentioned in a press release: “Congresswoman-elect Mariannette Miller-Meeks gained the vote on election night time, gained the 24-county audit and official canvas, gained the 24-county recount, and was unanimously licensed by the State of Iowa because the winner of the election by a bipartisan council.”

One political vulnerability for the Hart marketing campaign is that it didn’t exhaust its Iowa courtroom challenges earlier than asking the Home to intervene. The marketing campaign mentioned there wasn’t time for judicial reduction within the one-week window between certification and the Dec. 8 deadline for a five-member state “contest courtroom” ruling. But when solely 22 ballots are at concern, the criticism may have been offered to Iowa judges.

In the meantime, the counting continues in New York’s twenty second Congressional district upstate, the place a state choose ordered a recanvass this month after Republican

Claudia Tenney

led by 12 votes within the preliminary depend. Now she leads by 19, however the course of is unlikely to be accomplished earlier than the brand new Congress is sworn in. If Ms. Tenney comes out forward,

Mr. Elias’s

agency—which is at work in that district as effectively—may additionally ask the Home to seat its shopper.

The final time Congress overturned a state-certified Home election outcome was when the Democratic majority didn’t seat an Indiana Republican in 1985. The GOP anger over that call could have contributed to

Newt Gingrich’s

populist success within the Home, and overturning an election in 2021 would additionally assure a backlash.

The stakes are additionally excessive as a result of

Joe Biden

has appointed three Democratic Home Members to his Administration, which means that if Republicans maintain the seats in Iowa’s 2nd and New York’s twenty second districts, the Democrats may briefly have a mere 219 seats in the beginning of the time period, with 218 wanted for an absolute majority.

That might create an additional incentive for Mrs. Pelosi to abuse Home guidelines for concern of falling quick in key progressive votes. Alternatively, the GOP’s Home success in 2020 may remind Democrats of the general public’s wariness of their techniques—and the political dangers for 2022 of stealing a Home seat.

Potomac Watch: Republicans shouldn’t take the Jan. 5 runoffs, or their majority within the Senate, with no consideration. Picture: Jessica McGowan/Getty Pictures

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Firm, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared within the December 23, 2020, print version.

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