EXCLUSIVE — Saying that “the election is over and it’s time to move on,” a second House Democrat is raising a red flag to a potential push by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to overturn GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa’s razor-thin victory in last November’s election.
Miller-Meeks defeated Democrat Rita Hart by just six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers most of the southeastern part of the Hawkeye State. It was the closest margin of any U.S. election in nearly half a century.
Hart is challenging the results, which were certified by the state following a recount. But rather than go through Iowa’s courts, she asked the Committee on House Administration to investigate 22 ballots she argues were improperly counted and which she says would have put her in the lead.
Pelosi provisionally seated Miller-Meeks in January when the House was sworn in. Asked two weeks ago by reporters if she might potentially remove Miller-Meeks and seat Hart, Pelosi said “there could be a scenario to that extent.”
Any potential move by the House Administration Committee to award the victory to Hart would have to be approved by a vote in the full chamber, and with a fragile majority, Pelosi can’t afford to lose many Democratic votes.
But Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire, in a statement Monday evening to Fox News, said the election had been decided. “This election result was certified by the State of Iowa and Rep. Miller-Meeks was sworn in nearly three months ago,” he said. “As I said when Republicans challenged the Electoral College votes on January 6th, the election is over and it’s time to move on.”
Pappas himself was narrowly re-elected last November for a second term representing NH-01, a crucial House swing district in a key battleground state.
“I look forward to working with Rep. Miller-Meeks on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and keeping Congress’s focus on beating COVID, rebuilding our economy, and moving this country forward,” he said.
Pappas’ statement came hours after Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota wrote on Twitter that “Losing a House election by six votes is painful for Democrats. But overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America.”
“Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” wrote Phillips, whose MN-03 district is also considered competitive.
On Sunday, Democratic Rep. David Price of North Carolina told Fox News’ Mike Emanuel, “I have confidence that all sides of that House Administration Committee process are well aware of how sensitive and how difficult this is.”
Two other House Democrats – Reps. Dan Kildee of Michigan and Lou Correa of California – have also voiced concerns in recent days.
Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, the House Administration chair, recently postponed a vote on Miller-Meek’s motion to dismiss Hart’s election challenge. Lofgren has given both sides until early April to submit written responses to a series of questions before deciding what steps to take next.
The Democrats currently hold a 219-211 majority in the House, their tightest majority since World War II.
There are currently five House vacancies. Three of the vacant seats were won by Democrats and two by Republicans in last year’s elections. Special elections are being held this spring and summer to fill the vacant seats.