House Speaker Pelosi to Seat GOP Congresswoman-Elect Miller Meeks

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"Nancy Pelosi in Ghana" (public domain) by U.S. Embassy Ghana

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi(D-CA) stated that the leader of the House Democrats plans to seat Marrianette Miller-Meeks, Republican Congresswoman-elect of Iowa.

Meeks officially defeated the Democratic congressional candidate by six votes on a provisional basis. Drew Hammil, the spokesperson for Pelosi told Politico, said that “every vote counts and that’s why the Committee on House Administration is conducting a thorough and fair review of this election to make sure every vote was counted and counted as cast.” 

Hammil added, “Pending the outcome of the Committee’s review and consistent with House practice, we intend to seat the Republican candidate on Sunday provisionally.”

When the new Congress convenes on Sunday, Hammil stated that Pelosi herself plans to seat Miller-Meeks, despite the ongoing challenge from Democratic congressional candidate Rita Hart.

In a petition to the U.S. House of Representatives, Hart alleged that 22 ballots in the district were not properly counted. 

She added that the improperly counted ballots could have swayed the outcome of the closest congressional election. The Des Moines Register also stated that the U.S. House Committee on Administration would decide whether they will open an investigation or dismiss the claims after the Miller-Meeks campaign has been given a chance to file for an official response.

Hart also tweeted last week, “[Twenty-two] ballots remain uncounted from Election Night & thousands of others that were never examined,” He continued, “We’ve got to count the votes & get this right.”

In late November, the state canvassing board has certified that Miller-Meeks was the winner of the election. Official results have also shown that Miller-Meeks won with 196,964 votes, while Hart garnered 196,958 votes. 

Politico also reported that Congressional records has shown that since 1933, there were only three certified election winners have not been seated.

Last week, Hart’s campaign stated that the petition contesting the Iowa congressional race results would explain why Rita Hart is the winner of the election. Hart campaign’s statement also added that the petition would also explain why the House should include every ballot legally cast to guarantee fulfillment of each voter’s constitutional right. 

Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called Pelosi’s decision to seat Miller-Meeks in Congress as “good news.” However, Grassley added that the decision should be made permanent and not on a provisional basis. 

This issue has placed House Democrats in a politically fraught position as both of them are arguing, stating that Hart’s challenge should be considered and that Republicans should merely accept President Trump’s defeat.

U.S. Representative Dan Kildee, a Michigan Democrat, told the Washington Examiner, “For most of us, we’re wired to accept the results that are certified by state and county, canvassers, and it’s very difficult for us to reach into somebody else’s tabulations and decide for ourselves that we want to change the outcome unless there is compelling, overwhelming evidence to support the case, and I haven’t looked at that.”

Democrats also stated that the comparison to the presidential election is groundless, saying that President Trump has undoubtedly been defeated in different states while Rita Hart is challenging vote count by the tiniest of margins.

On the other hand, after Pelosi’s announcement last Wednesday, Miller-Meeks said that she would resign her seat in the Iowa state Senate to take her post in the Congress. 

In her resignation letter that was submitted to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, she said, “It has been one of the great honors of my life to have been elected to the Iowa Senate and serve the people of District 41.” She added, “I look forward to working on behalf of all of the people in the 2nd Congressional District as their new U.S. representative.”

Miller-Meeks has been preparing to take the seat of Iowa congresswoman as of Wednesday by resigning from the Iowa state Senate where she was working since 2013.