Iowa Certifies House Winner, by 6 Votes

Race shows 'every vote counts,' secretary of state says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 30, 2020 7:35 PM CST
Iowa Certifies House Winner, by 6 Votes
Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks appears in a debate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in October.   (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette via AP, File)

Iowa officials on Monday certified a Republican candidate as the winner by six votes of an open seat in the US House, in what is shaping up to be the closest congressional election in decades. Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks finished ahead of Democrat Rita Hart in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District after a recount saw her 47-vote lead steadily dwindle to single digits. The state Board of Canvass voted 5-0 to certify Miller-Meeks as the winner over Hart by a count of 196,964 to 196,958. The board, which includes Gov. Kim Reynolds, also certified President Trump as the winner of the state’s six electoral votes. The board is made up of three Republicans and two Democrats. If it withstands expected legal challenges, Miller-Meeks' margin of victory would amount to the closest US House race since 1984 and the tightest in Iowa since 1916.

"That race alone reinforces that every vote counts and can make a difference," said Secretary of State Paul Pate, the state's commissioner of elections and a canvass board member. Hart's campaign signaled that it will likely challenge the outcome legally; it has two days to do so. Such a filing would trigger the formation of a contest court consisting of Iowa Chief Justice Susan Christensen and four district judges, who would be appointed. The panel would be expected to rule on which candidate is entitled to hold the office by Dec. 8. If the court ruled in favor of Miller-Meeks, Hart could file a final appeal with the Democratic-controlled US House, which has the power to judge its members’ elections and has intervened in the past on rare occasions. Historically, a margin of victory like this would earn the winner, including a president, a nickname. Lyndon Johnson became "Landslide Lyndon" after winning a Texas Senate race by 87 votes, per his Senate biography.

(More Election 2020 stories.)

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