“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 closest 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.”
Ms. Hart’s campaign had identified 22 ballots that they believed were legally cast but “wrongfully” uncounted by state election officials during a districtwide recount in the fall. Rather than taking her case to court in Iowa before the election was certified, Ms. Hart opted to wait and appeal the results to the House Administration Committee, invoking a 1960s law.
With Democrats in control of the chamber, they would have run the review and had the power to order their own recount and a vote by the full House on whether to unseat Ms. Miller-Meeks in favor of their own candidate, which would have added to their eight-seat majority.
Democratic leaders had argued that they were obliged to take the appeal seriously, but Republicans mobilized, accusing them of hypocrisy and trying to steal an election that had been verified by state officials. To drive home the point, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, flew to Iowa on Wednesday before Ms. Hart’s announcement to rail against what he called an attempted political power grab intended to pad Democrats’ margin of control.
“Iowans made a decision,” Mr. McCarthy said. “And it’s their voice, and they have a right to have Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who they elected, to continue to serve them.”