A Democratic congressional candidate in Iowa who trailed by six votes after a recount said Wednesday she will forgo further legal challenges in the state and instead appeal directly to the U.S. House for review.
Rita Hart’s campaign had until Wednesday afternoon to contest the election under Iowa law following Monday’s certification of results in which Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks was declared the winner of the closest House race in decades.
An election contest in Iowa would have triggered the formation of a five-judge panel that would have been required to rule on who won the race by Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Hart’s campaign said that quick timeline would not allow enough time to review the ballots, including thousands of unexamined undervotes and overvotes and others that were not counted for a variety of reasons.
Instead, the campaign said that Hart would file an election contest with the U.S. House under the Federal Contested Elections Act in the coming weeks.
Such a filing, due within 30 days after Monday’s certification, will trigger a proceeding in front of the House Committee on Administration that would allow Hart to offer testimony and evidence.
The Democratic-controlled House could also direct the committee to conduct its own investigation and recount, a process that in the past has included reviewing election records and examining disputed ballots.
Ultimately, the committee would file a report to the full House with its findings on who won the most votes and recommending who should fill the seat representing southeast Iowa. The House could act on a simple majority vote.