McCarthy calls on Pelosi to reject efforts to contest Iowa House race

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)
Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to reject efforts to contest the results of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, arguing that unseating Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) would be a partisan attempt to overturn a legitimate election outcome.

In a letter sent to Pelosi on Monday, McCarthy noted that the election has been certified, a recount of the narrowly won race has already taken place and Miller-Meeks has been seated.

“All votes have been counted, and Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks won her election. Not only did Dr. Miller-Meeks not trail in any officially reported count, but she also continued to lead following a recount conducted by bipartisan recount boards, which included a member from each campaign and an agreed upon third party,” he wrote.

“On November 30, 2020, the bipartisan State Canvassing Board voted unanimously to certify Congresswoman Miller-Meeks as the winner. Then, on January 3, 2021, you seated Congresswoman Miller-Meeks as a Member of Congress with support from every Democratic Member,” he wrote.

The California Republican took aim at Democratic candidate Rita Hart for opting to go to Congress instead of challenging the race in the courts, arguing that the Democratic majority on the panel wouldn’t provide an objective process.

“Yet Rita Hart has contested the results of Iowa’s free and fair election with the Committee on House Administration, which is made up of twice as many Democrats as Republicans. In fact, Contestant Hart purposefully skipped Iowa’s impartial courts and moved directly to this Democrat-controlled committee, stating it was ‘the only way to get the result we need,’ ” he continued. “While the Constitution gives Congress the authority to determine its own members, it is unprecedented and antithetical to our democracy to unseat the duly elected and certified winner of a state election simply because you have the majority.”

McCarthy went on to allege that Pelosi has “begun to manipulate” and accuse Democrats of selecting counsel that poses a conflict of interest.

“You have already begun to manipulate this contest in order to guarantee a win for Contestant Hart, inventing brand-new procedure that violates federal law and your own rules,” the letter states. “Unbelievably, this would require almost nothing from Contestant Hart but would have Congresswoman Miller-Meeks prove that she won her seat, despite holding a valid election certificate. Even worse, as Ranking Member Rodney Davis [R-Ill.] noted, Marc Elias, an attorney recently sanctioned by a federal appellate court for untruthfulness, represents half of the Democrats on the Committee—the judges—while also representing Contestant Hart, a serious conflict of interest.”

“I urge you to put your faith in our democracy and dismiss this partisan contest. While you may have the ability through force of majority vote to disenfranchise Iowa voters and replace their selection with your own, Iowa’s voters, the American people, and every duly-elected Representative serving in this 117th Congress with the same certifications and credentials that Congresswoman Miller-Meeks, you, and I have deserve better,” he wrote.

Pelosi has defended the push to challenge the election results, refuting accusations it would be unfair to overturn the race.

“If I wanted to be unfair, I wouldn’t have seated the Republican from Iowa,” she said at a recent press conference. “But we didn’t want to do that. We just said, let’s just go through this process. So I want credit for that.”

The Biden Administration has also said they feel it is appropriate to look into the matter.

“I believe that the process that is outlined by the House of Representatives is what’s being followed here to ensure every vote is counted, so no, he wouldn’t agree with that,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press conference when asked whether President Biden would agree with GOP senators alleging the challenge was an attempt to “undermine a legitimate Democratic process.”

Miller-Meeks won her race by six votes, but Hart has argued there are a handful of ballots that were unjustly rejected by the state.

The controversial move comes after more than 100 Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the certification of the presidential election results in January. 

Tags Iowa Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Mariannette Miller-Meeks Nancy Pelosi Rodney Davis

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