Guess What? The 2020 Election Is Now Officially Over

March 31, 2021 by Dan McCue
Rita Hart

Democrat Rita Hart threw in the towel Wednesday afternoon, giving up her bid to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, and effectively ending the 2020 election cycle.

Hart, who had been challenging the outcome of the race before the Committee on House Administration, said in a brief statement that she’d “made the decision to withdraw my contest.”

“Since Election Day, and throughout this entire process, my mission has been about ensuring the voices of Iowans who followed the law are not silenced,” she said. “I am saddened that some Iowans’ votes will not count through no fault of their own. 

“The work of ensuring it does not happen again will continue beyond this campaign,” she added.

Moments later, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., chair of the committee, said she will recommend the House formally “dispose of the contest and adopt a dismissal resolution reported out of the committee.”

Hart lost the 2020 race in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District to Republican Rep. Marianette Miller-Meeks by six votes and had asked the Democratically-controlled House to investigate the results.

She argued that 22 lawfully-cast ballots that had been set aside should have been counted that would have flipped the results in her favor.

Iowa’s canvassing board certified Miller-Meeks as the winner by a vote margin of 196,964 to 196,958, the closest congressional race since 1984.

But the House had the ability to investigate and possibly reject the election results.

The Federal Contested Elections Act was passed in 1969 by the U.S. House of Representatives specifically as a mechanism to handle elections such as this one where there are concerns about the process and a careful examination is needed.

Lofgren said Wednesday the Act requires that someone challenge an electoral contest to start and sustain a House investigation.

“There being no contestant, there is no longer a contest,” she said.

Republicans crowed about Hart’s decision, saying it ended hers and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “efforts to subvert the will of Iowa voters.”

“We are glad Rita Hart finally came to her senses and admitted the truth: the people of Iowa chose Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks to represent them in Congress. We won’t let voters forget that Democrats will do whatever they can to subvert democracy if given the opportunity.” said Mike Berg, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. 

Hart did not respond in kind.

“Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closet congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans,” she said. “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 civility.

“I wish Mariannette Miller-Meeks all the best as she serves the people of this great state as congresswoman. This has been a difficult process for all of those involved and it’s incredibly important that we work together to reform the system so this does not happen again in the future,” Hart added.

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