Dem Rita Hart backs down in Iowa election challenge to Miller-Meeks amid mounting GOP pressure

Democrat Rita Hart has formally dropped her election challenge in Iowa to GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, just as Republicans turned up their public relations campaign against the potential election “steal.”

Hart officially lost Iowa’s Second District race in November to Miller-Meeks by just six votes. However, she had filed a formal election contest with the House of Representatives asking for a recount that included 22 ballots that were left out of the final tally, claiming she would have prevailed.

But amid a growing GOP-led campaign to quash the challenge and to pressure House Democrats to accept the election results, Hart formally announced Wednesday she will no longer try to overturn the election. 

“After many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest, I have made the decision to withdraw my contest before the House Committee on Administration,” Hart said in a statement Wednesday.

“Since Election Day, and throughout this entire process, my mission has been about ensuring the voices of Iowans who followed the law are not silenced. I am saddened that some Iowans’ votes will not count through no fault of their own. The work of ensuring it does not happen again will continue beyond this campaign.”

Hart’s announcement came the same day that GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy visited Iowa with Miller-Meeks demanding an end to the election contest, claiming the Democratic-led House was trying to steal away the election from Iowa voters.

Hart acknowledged the highly charged political climate in her statement.

“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,” Hart 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.”

Hart thanked her supporters and wished Miller-Meeks the best as she represents the district that was home to the tightest congressional race in the nation. 

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