Iowa: Scott County Auditor: 95% chance Iowa 2nd district US House race headed to court | Tom Barton/Quad City Times
The historically close race for an open southeast Iowa congressional seat could be nearing a single-digit victory as the tally continues to narrow as counties work to complete their recount of votes. Whatever the outcome, the race results are almost certainly headed to a legal challenge. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, as of late Wednesday afternoon, had 196,880 votes to Democrat Rita Hart’s 196,845, according to unofficial results from the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office. The U.S. House race is the closest federal race in the country, and could become a single-digit race. “The reality that this is going to a (legal) contest, I believe, is, you know, 95% probability. They’re going to be within 50 votes of each other,” Scott County Auditor Roxanna Mortiz said Wednesday. The three-member recount board — which includes one representative from each campaign and one neutral member — in Scott County adjourned Wednesday without addressing a 131-ballot discrepancy between its tabulation of the absentee ballots received by the Scott County Auditor and those included in the county’s certified canvass of election results after election day. Rather than conduct a full machine recount of absentee ballots, the board decided, 2-1, over the objections of the Miller-Meeks’ campaign, to adjourn, leaving the unexplained discrepancy. Michael Bousselot, chief of staff to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and the Miller-Meeks’ campaign representative, did not sign the recount board report “that has this cloud over it.” The board adjourned after requesting and awaiting legal advice from the Scott County Attorney, which advises the recount board.