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House Democrats weigh ejecting GOP winner of contested Iowa race, dismissing comparisons to Trump

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While Democrats say what is happening in the 2nd District of Iowa Congress does not resemble Trump’s lies about widespread fraud and stolen elections that eventually led to the Jan. 6 attack on the State Capitol. United, they are aware of the prospect of potentially ripping off a member of Congress from the opposing party who was declared the winner by bipartisan state election officials.

“The most important thing is that you go to a court forum, bring some evidence, and bring some evidence,” Raskin told CNN.

But Hart’s campaign has argued that if 22 legally voted ballots are counted, he would win the race by nine votes instead of losing it by six. And as the Constitution makes the House the final “judge” of his own election, Hart has filed an unusual petition to investigate his claims and replace him.

Republicans are outraged that he has brought his case to a friendly Democrat-led House audience, rather than the courts, and say it is a blatant attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bolster his knife majority. with an additional seat.

“They were complaining because Republicans didn’t tell people that Biden won the election on November 4, the day after the election, and now they’re playing this game? It just doesn’t add up,” said Party senator Chuck Grassley Longtime Republican.

But Democrats say there is nothing wrong with Hart using a process established by federal law that gives him a chance to present his case to Congress.

“We can’t worry about the optics,” said North Carolina Rep. GK Butterfield, who is on the House panel considering the challenge. “We need to review the evidence and see where it leads us.”

Committee member Raskin downplayed the way the public could view the matter if the House annulled the election. “We live in a cynical and wacky time, but that doesn’t mean we all have to dedicate ourselves to it,” he said. “We just have to do our job.”

Lawyers for both parties have until Monday to send their initial writs to a House court, which voted party lines last week to examine the case. The House, which Democrats control by a margin of 219-211, could finally decide the election. House Board of Directors Chair California Representative Zoe Lofgren said in an interview that she hopes the case will be resolved this spring.

Democrats could face a controversial vote a few months after defending state officials who certified the 2020 presidential election. Some Democrats may be worried about the prospect.

California Representative Lou Correa, a Blue Dog Democrat who is on the judiciary, said he wanted to “examine the facts” about “what motivates Congress to consider something that should be a state issue.”

“I want to see what compelling reasons there are for the feds to get involved in this,” he said. “I think it’s issues that right now it’s probably best to leave at the state level.”

Voting could be particularly tricky for Democrats like Maine representatives Jared Golden and Iowa’s Cindy Axne, who could face difficulties in re-election in 2022.

Golden, who narrowly defeated a Republican representative in 2018 who challenged his loss in court, told CNN he had no problem with the actions of the House administration committee so far.

“My instinct is that in this kind of thing, it’s always better to count every vote, to look under every stone,” Golden said. “I think it’s better for the incumbent or challenger to allow the process to go as far as there are legal options to do so.”

But Republicans are eager to use any Democratic vote to oust a lawmaker as a mid-2022 responsibility.

Iowa Republican Party Sen. Joni Ernst said in an interview that Hart’s challenge jeopardizes “the only Iowa Democrat left in Congress – Axne.”

Ernst asked, “Where is Cindy Axne who says,‘ This is an outrage and Iowa voters have spoken out? “”

Axne’s spokesman pointed to CNN in a statement the congresswoman released in December. Axne said at the time that Hart had the “constitutional and legal grounds to prosecute” his case. “I support a transparent process that ensures that every vote cast properly in this contest is counted,” he added.

A rare house review of an election victory

It is extremely rare for a congressional candidate to successfully challenge his or her loss in Congress. From 1933 to 2009, the House considered 107 contested election cases, according to the Congressional Research Service. In only three cases did the candidate who contested the results take the place; in one case, he declared it vacant.
But Miller-Meeks’ attorney, Alan Ostergren, told CNN that “it’s a concern” that the Democratic-controlled House will repeat its 1985 decision to seat the Democrat over the state-certified Republican. He said Hart could have gone to court instead of Congress.

“Our focus is on the fact that we have a certificate of election and that there was a process that Hart could have chosen based on the law, administered by judges, which he ignored in favor of one administered by his own political party. , ”Ostergren said.

“The argument of his 22 ballots is almost exclusively that state law should not matter,” he added. “That’s a pretty troubling argument to make.”

Democrats have argued that there was not enough time after state certification of the race for Hart to be able to turn his case over to the courts in order to meet the December deadline. Marc Elias, Hart’s attorney who helped lead Democratic efforts against Trump-inspired demands to overturn Biden’s victory, did not respond to requests for comment.

“Voters who vote legally in this election deserve their voices to be heard and we will continue to work to make sure that is the case,” Hart spokeswoman Riley Kilburg said. “This is a historically narrow race and we appreciate the committee taking seriously the need to ensure that every vote is counted in this race following this legal process.”

Republicans say Democrats are trying to steal the seat.

“Rita Hart and President Pelosi are trying to subvert democracy,” Republican National Committee spokesman Congressman Mike Berg said. “All Democratic members should condemn this partisan takeover.”

Lofgren said they simply “follow the law and the Constitution.”

When asked if she was concerned about the perspective of a party body that determines the election, Lofgren said the last time she evaluated the election she introduced the motion in favor of the Republican. (In 2008, Lofgren was part of the group’s working group voted unanimously dismiss the case of a Florida Democrat for his 2006 loss).

“You just have to do it for the facts,” he said.

Other Democrats in the group said Republican Party attacks should not deter them from reviewing the case.

“I never question the ability of Republicans to combine what’s happening with the facts,” California Representative Pete Aguilar said.

Democrats said the Trump and Hart cases couldn’t be more different.

“I think you’re comparing apples to oranges,” said Jeff Link, a Democratic strategist from Iowa. “Trump was trying to find ballots that didn’t exist. In this case, there are 22 legitimate ballots that hadn’t been counted. So it’s a different situation.”

Pelosi reiterated it on ABC this weekend.

“Calling anyone hypocritical about the election when two-thirds of them in the House voted against accepting Joe Biden’s presidency is – well, it’s just who they are,” Pelosi said.

But Republicans say the House group, which is split between six Democrats and three members of the Republican Party, should keep the final decision in the hands of Yowans.

“If six votes are not good enough for Marianette Miller-Meeks to be declared the winner, have a certificate and do several bipartisan counts in Iowa, such as six partisan votes in the smallest committee in Congress that are enough to overturn the will of Iowa voters? ”said Illinois Representative Rodney Davis, the committee’s most prominent Republican.

Sarah Fortinsky and Annie Grayer collaborated.

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