This is your periodic reminder that the congressional elections of 2020 may not be over. For all we know, they may never be over. For a very long time, we were talking about the NY-22 race that was finally settled in favor of Republican Claudia Tenney a little over a month ago. But this week we’re jumping back into the Wayback Machine and returning our attention to Iowa’s Second Congressional District. As you may recall, that race was even closer than Tenney’s, coming down to only a six-vote margin in favor of Republican Congresswoman Marianette Miller-Meeks over Democrat Rita Hart.
But wait, I can hear some of you asking. Wasn’t that race already decided and certified? Yes. Yes, it was. But that doesn’t mean that it’s over. Hart had previously asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to overturn the results and seat her anyway. Hart still claims that 22 votes in her race were wrongfully discarded and, had they been counted, she would have won by a margin of nine votes. The matter has been turned over to the House Administration Committee for review. Pelosi was asked this week if it was still possible that she would “decertify” the election, remove Miller-Meeks and seat Hart. Her answer indicated that she’s certainly leaving that possibility on the table. (Washington Examiner)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House could ultimately vote to unseat Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who won Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat by just six votes out of more than 394,000 cast.
Pelosi told reporters that the Democratic-led House Administration Committee “is following the law,” in its review of the election, and it could ultimately result in a move to force out the first-term Iowa Republican.
“We will see where that takes us, but there could be a scenario to that extent,” Pelosi said.
Allow me to start off by revisiting what I previously said about the NY-22 race between Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and incumbent Anthony Brindisi. Compared to Miller-Meeks, Tenney won that race by a landslide with a margin of 109 votes. But the fact of the matter is that we’re never going to know who really won that race. It can’t be known. The mountain of mail-in ballots combined with the various counties botched systems of counting and tracking them makes it impossible to say. But they had to stop counting eventually and go with what they had, so the race was certified in Tenney’s favor. Please keep in mind the fact that I said that even though the Republican was eventually declared the winner.
The battle between Hart and Miller-Meeks is even worse. Ed Morrissey reviewed the details back in December and, if anything, this election is even more cloudy than the one in NY-22. We’re obviously never going to know who actually won this one either. But with that said, Hart’s claim that 22 votes were wrongfully discarded is dubious from a couple of angles. First of all, of the 22 ballots in question, only one was rejected as a result of an outright error by election officials. Two more might have been properly submitted, but incorrectly routed later. The other 19 were all rejected because of irregularities that the county election boards ruled as disqualifying. So Hart would still have come up short by three votes.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, Hart has no court ruling in her favor in this matter because she never challenged the final count in court. I can only see two possible reasons why she wouldn’t have challenged such a razor-thin finish. (Keeping in mind that both Brindisi and Tenney brought so many court challenges that New York almost had to hire extra judges.) One explanation is that she might have had such incompetent legal counsel that it was nearly criminal, but that wouldn’t be Miller-Meeks’ fault. The other possibility is that Hart declined to go to court because she was convinced she would probably lose. And if Miller-Meeks had a judge’s ruling in her back pocket, it would have been a massively longer bow to draw to get Pelosi to overturn the results. That could explain why Hart appealed directly to the Speaker.
But as Ed asked in December, could Nancy Pelosi really be simultaneously both so tone-deaf and audacious as to unseat Miller-Meeks and hand the seat to a Democrat? Before you start scoffing and saying “ of course, she could,” consider the truly ugly optics hanging over this scenario. Pelosi and her colleagues are still slinging mud at anyone who questioned the results of the presidential election and disagreed with the certification of the results. But now she’s going to overturn a certified election that was never even challenged in court? That would by the height of hypocrisy.
I’m not saying that’s going to stop her. Each chamber of Congress is the final arbiter of congressional elections, as per the Constitution. In theory, they could toss the results of any race if they really set their minds to it. But if it becomes obvious that they are just throwing out certified elections to maintain some partisan advantage, there would almost certainly be a price to be paid. But Nancy Pelosi may not care at this point. She’s clearly nearing the twilight of her own career and her party has an agenda to drive through as they attempt to wash the bad taste of four years under Donald Trump out of their mouths. I wouldn’t put anything past her at this point.