DAVENPORT, Iowa – Democrat Rita Hart announced Wednesday that she would abandon her efforts to have Congress recompose the ballots in her congressional race, which she lost by six votes to Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
The reversal comes as the House Administration Committee progressed with its investigation into the election results after Hart claimed 22 legal votes were not counted. The investigative process was to take several months.
“After many conversations with people I trust about the future of this competition, I have made the decision to withdraw my competition before the House Administration Committee,” Hart wrote in a communicated.
Republicans have sought to label his action Democratic hypocrisy for trying to overturn state certification of an election after Democrats criticized 138 Republicans for opposing the constituency count on Jan.6.
“Despite our best efforts to make sure every vote is counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional revision of the closest congressional challenge in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of the Iowans. 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 courtesy, ”Hart said in his statement.
Hart called on the House, which is controlled by her own party, to use her authority to investigate the vote count, saying if the 22 uncounted ballots were counted she would be declared the legitimate winner.
Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Chair of the House administration committee, said in a statement that the committee “will dispose of the competition and pass a termination resolution reported by the committee.”
Congressional revisions are routine and permitted under federal law. A result was canceled only three times.
But this year the rather routine review process has become more political, fueled by former President Donald Trump’s unsuccessful efforts to get Congress to reverse its electoral defeat and refuse to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.
Moderate Democrats had expressed reservations that Congress would rise to the challenge in part because of the highly charged politics of the time.
Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy of R-California visited Iowa on Wednesday and hosted an event with Miller-Meeks, trying to turn a seat won by his party by just six votes into an accusation of hypocrisy against the Democrats.
McCarthy took the victory, Tweeter a photo of himself and Miller-Meeks and saying in a statement, “Rita Hart and Nancy Pelosi have finally heard what many Iowans have told me today: Mariannette Miller-Meeks is the duly elected MP for the service of the Second Congressional District of Iowa. Pelosi’s attempt to take out power was unsuccessful. And the Iowans and America are better off because of it.