Iowa Voters Say They’d View Losing Congressional Candidate As ‘Illegitimate’ If House Decides To Seat Her

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Iowans would view Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District Rita Hart as an illegitimate candidate should she be successful in challenging her election loss in the House, a new poll shows.

Losing by just six votes, Hart lost her bid to Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks after Iowa certified the election results on Nov. 30.

Following her loss, Hart announced Dec. 2 that she would be taking her case to the House Committee on Administration under the Federal Contested Elections Act, which gives the House or Senate the final authority when it comes to deciding a contested election.

Congressional decisions supersede state legislatures and courts, as stipulated by Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution which says that “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members,” while Section 4 allows Congress to “make or alter” state regulations regarding an election. (RELATED: ‘Our Message Is Really, Really Flawed’: Sen. John Tester On Democrats’ Failure To Connect With Voters)

Should Hart’s bid to challenge the results be successful, the House could call for a new election to be held, hold the seat empty until an investigation is completed or declare Hart the winner of the seat.

However, 7 out of 10 voters in the district said any election disputes should be resolved by Iowa’s courts, according to a poll for American Action Network by Republican polling firm Cygnal. 58% of those polled said that if the House moved to overturn the certified election results and declare Hart the winner, they would view her as illegitimate. A quarter of voters who voted for Hart would also view her as illegitimate, the poll shows.

The poll was conducted among 400 likely voters in the district with a 4.9% margin of error.

Iowa Republican lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Democratic Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren and Republican Committee Ranking Member Rodney Davis asking them to reject Hart’s appeal, according to KWWL.

In the letter sent by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Representatives-Elect Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, they say that Hart’s appeal under the Federal Contested Elections Act “would create a dangerous precedent and should be rejected.”

Congress intervened in the 1984 disputed Indiana 8th congressional election between Democratic Incumbent Rep. Frank McCloskey and Republican nominee Rock McIntyre, according to The New York Times. McCloskey originally was leading McIntyre on election night, but after two state recounts, McIntyre took the lead. McCloskey contested the race and after a four month battle at the House Administration Committee, McCloskey was declared the winner, according to the Los Angeles Times.