Iowa Republicans declaring victory in closest 2020 congressional race
Republicans Tuesday night declared victory in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District after nearly a week of vote recounting tightened the race to become the closest 2020 contest.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Republican candidate, secured a razor-thin margin of victory of 47 votes, according to Tuesday’s final count from the Iowa secretary of state. Her Democratic opponent, Rita Hart, has three days to call for another recount, which she is expected to do.
“I express my heartfelt gratitude to the voters of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and acknowledge my opponent Rita Hart’s grace and positive demeanor during this challenging campaign,” Miller-Meeks said in a statement. “The election is over, and it is time to move forward together and focus on the priorities that will best serve Iowans.”
The reexamination, which was triggered after a polling error was discovered on election night, put Miller-Meeks’s then-slim 265-vote lead in jeopardy. Throughout the following days, she and Hart traded places as the apparent winner as each county reassessed its tallies. Both campaigns throughout the process called for a fair recount.
“The most important thing is that we get this right,” Hart said in a Monday statement.
If Hart calls for another recount, the district will have 18 days to complete it.
The apparent win is notable, especially for Miller-Meeks, who tried in 2008, 2010, and 2014 to win the seat. When incumbent Dave Loebsack last year announced his retirement, she fought off former Illinois Rep. Bobby Schilling in an acrimonious primary to fight for it again.
The seat, which Loebsack flipped blue in 2006, this cycle was considered a toss-up leaning Democratic by the Cook Political Report.