The announcement Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would permit the seating of Republican Marionette Miller-Meeks as the new U.S. Representative from Iowa’s 2nd District essentially closed the book on the nation’s closest House race.
It also sent a clear signal that Pelosi, who could fall short of the 216 votes she needs to be reelected speaker in the most closely-divided House since 1958, did not want to aggravate the situation by not permitting the seating of a Republican carrying a certificate of election.
In results that were counted, recounted, and certified by Hawkeye State officials, Miller-Meeks, 65, eked out a win of six votes out of more than 390,000 cast.
But Democrat opponent Rita Hart charged votes meant for her were not counted and planned to file a complaint with the House Administration Committee.
With the disputed race being considered by the committee, Republicans feared that Miller-Meeks would not be permitted to be sworn in and seated Jan. 6.
The last time this occurred was in 1985, when Republican Rick McIntyre had a certificate of election from the state of Indiana for winning the 8th District but was not permitted to be sworn in as its new congressman.
Instead, a panel of the Administration Committee chaired by then-Rep. Leon Panetta, D-Calif., oversaw a recount of its own and found that Democrat Frank McCloskey defeated McIntyre by four votes. On a party line vote, the full House voted to seat McCloskey — resulting in an angry Republican walkout in what many historians believe was the genesis of the modern Congress in which the parties are bitterly divided.
At the time, Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill presided over a House with a healthy majority of fellow Democrats (252) over Republicans (182).
When the new House opens Jan. 3, Pelosi will be seeking another term as speaker in a House with the closest partisan division since 1958 — 220 Democrats to 211 Republicans, with two Democrats quarantining for COVID-19, a vacancy in Louisiana following the death Tuesday of Republican Rep.-elect Luke Letwin, and the still-disputed New York-22 seat left open pending certification for Republican Claudia Tenney.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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