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House Democrats face backlash on both sides for investigating Iowa House race won by a Republican

House Democrats are facing political backlash from all sides for opening an investigation into a state certified election in Iowa that Republicans narrowly won after railing against former President Donald Trump and his allies for seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The House Administration Committee, blessed by Democratic leadership, according to a senior Democratic aide, just opened an investigation into Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election results where Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks defeated Democrat Rita Hart by only six votes. Hart’s campaign, who has retained Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias for the matter, is calling for an investigation into 22 ballots, which they believe were not counted correctly for various reasons, and if recounted, would change the outcome of the election.

Moderate Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota tweeted against his own party’s actions and any attempt to try to overturn the race that was certified in favor of Republicans.

“Losing a House election by six votes is painful for Democrats. But overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should,” Phillips tweeted Monday.

When asked on Fox News if he was worried that Washington, DC, would overrule Iowa’s election process, Democratic Rep. David Price of North Carolina said on Sunday, “I don’t think there’s the slightest chance that would happen.”

“I think I have confidence that all sides of that House Administration Committee process are well aware how sensitive and how difficult this is, and I look for them to have a conscientious process, and then I look to evaluate what they come up with,” Price told Fox News.

Democratic Rep. Lou Correa of California concurred that the issue is best handled at the state level, telling CNN last week, “I think these are issues that right now are probably best left at the state level.”

On the other side of the aisle, nine out of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump joined the growing chorus of moderate voices seeking to call out this effort by writing a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking to stop the investigation that could potentially overturn the Iowa House race. In the letter, the nine members laid out how breaking from their own party to vote to impeach Trump for his attempts to overturn a certified election gives them unique credibility to call out Democrats for doing now what they believe is a similar partisan process.

“Earlier this year, we the undersigned voted to impeach a President in our own party who had repeatedly refuted the results of a certified election, which led to horrific violence in the Capitol Building on January 6. That was not an easy vote for us politically, but it was the right thing to do,” the nine Republicans wrote. “To that end, we would ask that you immediately cease any and all efforts by the House Administration Committee to reverse the result of that election.”

On Monday alone, the National Republican Campaign Committee targeted at least 10 Democrats who represent districts their operation is pursuing in the upcoming 2022 midterms for not speaking out against the investigation.

Despite the outside pressure, Pelosi told reporters on March 11 that “there could be a scenario” in which the House unseats Miller-Meeks in Congress, depending on what the House Administration Committee finds in its probe.

“We’ll see where that takes us,” the speaker said of the House Administration’s inquiry into the matter.

Pelosi has tried to show that the actions taken by the House Administration Committee are not rare, telling ABC “This Week” on March 14, “This is not unique. This has happened,” and adding, “Even Justice Scalia agreed that the House has the authority to seat members, and therefore we can count the votes.”

House Administration Committee spokesman Peter Whippy, whose panel is leading the investigation, told CNN the Federal Contested Election Act of 1969 gives Congress the specific framework for handling contested elections, and that since 1933, 110 contests have been filed.

“These challenges are not frequent, but they are a regular and expected part of our elections process. In Iowa’s second congressional district, with the margins as razor thin as they are, it should not be surprising that any candidate in these circumstances would choose to exercise their rights under the law to contest the results,” Whippy said in a statement to CNN. “The Constitutional provision and federal law that provides a fair and structured process for hearing election contests exist for just this purpose.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has been lambasting Democrats for weeks, arguing that Democrats are trying to steal the race and use this investigation as an opportunity to increase their narrow four vote margin majority.

“The Democrats who are contesting it, didn’t go to the court system, which was the appropriate place to go,” McCarthy told reporters on March 18, adding later, “I would not put it past them to try to steal the race.”

A Democratic aide familiar with the House Administration’s unfolding investigation pushed back on the claim that this investigation led by Democrats was hypocritical.

“I don’t think it’s hypocritical to apply the law,” the aide told CNN, pointing out that Trump’s claims that millions of fraudulent ballots were filed without any evidence was not comparable to Hart’s campaign contesting 22 specific ballots with sworn affidavits. “It’s apples to oranges, it’s not a fair comparison at all.”

Pelosi has also fought back publicly against the notion that Democrats are being hypocritical in this scenario compared to their stance against Trump and his allies in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

“For them to call anybody hypocritical about elections when two-thirds of them in the House voted against accepting the presidency of Joe Biden, is well, it’s just who they are” Pelosi said in the March ABC interview.

Article Topic Follows: National Politics

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