Nearly four weeks after the election, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks is poised to be declared the official winner — by just six votes — in what has become the closest congressional race in the country, flipping a seat held by Democrats for the past 14 years. The Scott County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to certify the results of a county recount in the uncalled Iowa 2nd congressional district race, despite an unexplained 131-ballot discrepancy between the number of absentee ballots counted on election day and those counted by the recount board. A state canvassing board is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon, the legal deadline under Iowa Code, to certify the results of the race, following a districtwide recount in all 24 counties, and officially declare Miller-Meeks as the winner of the race. However, there is still a possibility of legal challenges brought by the campaign of Democrat Rita Hart, which would set in motion a proceeding before a judicial panel.
Iowa Democrat Rita Hart, claiming ‘toxic campaign of political disinformation,’ withdraws election challenge in Iowa’s 2nd District | Brianne Pfannenstiel/Des Moines Register
Iowa Democrat Rita Hart is withdrawing her challenge to U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller Meeks’ election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District following what she claimed was a toxic disinformation campaign, she announced Wednesday. The move puts an end to a bitter partisan fight that has rippled across the country and that threatened to drag on through the summer. The sudden reversal also takes pressure off moderate and vulnerable Democrats who have appeared to grow increasingly uncomfortable with the possibility of voting to overturn a state-certified election. But even as she ended her official challenge, Hart made clear Wednesday that she stands by her claims. “Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans,” Hart said in a statement announcing the decision. “It is a stain on our democracy that the truth has not prevailed and my hope for the future is a return to decency and civility.” Miller-Meeks, who has been seated in Congress provisionally since January, issued a statement Wednesday thanking Hart for the decision. “I know how extremely difficult it is to lose an election, but for the people to have faith and confidence in the election system and Iowa laws, it was gracious of her to concede at this time,” she said. “I look forward to continuing to work to represent the people of Iowa’s Second District.”