Dem Rep. Breaks from Pelosi on Overturning Iowa House Race

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Dean Phillips (D., Minn.) speaks during a House Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 16, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/Reuters)

Representative Dean Phillips (D., Minn.) has warned against overturning the election results in Iowa’s 2nd congressional district, in a break with House Democratic leadership.

Phillips said that the House should refrain from interfering in that election, where Republican Marianne Miller-Meeks defeated Democratic opponent Rita Hart by a mere six votes.

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

Under the Constitution, the House has the power to make the final determination in certain cases of contested elections. Hart appealed to the House to review the results of her race against Miller-Meeks, which was initially certified by the Iowa state board of elections. Hart contends that 22 ballots were improperly disqualified during the elections and that if those ballots were counted, she would win.

The effort to potentially overturn the result of the election is backed by House leadership, Politico reported on Monday. The House has considered 110 similar cases over the past 90 years, but only overturned the results in three instances. Overturning the results would require a vote by the full chamber, where Democrats hold a slim 219-211 majority.

Some Democrats, including Phillips and moderate North Carolina representative David Pryce, are skeptical of the move. Phillips was first elected in 2019 and is the first Democratic representative in his district since 1961.

The effort to overturn the results has also put Democrats in a rhetorical bind following former President Trump’s efforts to discredit the 2020 presidential election and to overturn his defeat. Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a frequent target of Trump and his allies after certifying President Biden’s victory in the state, criticized Democrats for interfering in the Iowa election on Friday.

“Georgia’s election workers…sacrificed much in pursuit of free and fair elections,” Raffensperger wrote in an open letter. “In light of what Georgia has gone through in the last few months…I am greatly alarmed that members of Congress would consider overturning the will of the voters as certified by the state, as narrow as it is.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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