WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives are warning Democrats not to set a “dangerous precedent” by challenging the certified results of a disputed House election in Iowa.
Republican Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks defeated Democrat Rita Hart in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District by only six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast. State election officials certified the results and Miller-Meeks was sworn into office in January.
But Hart has petitioned the Democratic-controlled House to intervene, claiming that 22 votes were improperly excluded. The House Administration Committee, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by six to three, has launched an investigation.
Nine of the 10 Republicans who voted in January to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection drew a strong parallel between the Iowa election and the certified presidential election results that Trump contested in the weeks leading up to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
“This action not only sets a dangerous precedent for future elections, it reinforces the false belief by many in our country that our election system is rigged and that certain politicians can change results to fit their whims,” the Republicans wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dated March 19.
Pelosi’s office directed queries seeking comment to the House Administration Committee.
“It should not be surprising that any candidate in these circumstances would choose to exercise their rights under the law to contest the results,” said Democratic committee spokesman Peter Whippy, who noted that there have been 110 such challenges since 1933 or about two in each two-year election cycle
But even some Democrats have misgivings about the case. Representative Dean Phillips, a Minnesota Democrat, acknowledged the pain of losing an election by six votes but wrote on Twitter that “overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should.”
The Republican letter was signed by Representatives Fred Upton; Liz Cheney, who chairs the House Republican Conference; Jaime Herrera Beutler; Adam Kinzinger; John Katko; Dan Newhouse; Anthony Gonzalez; David Valadao; and Peter Meijer.
The lawmakers said that backing the Republican president’s impeachment was not an easy vote politically “but the right thing to do” because “the integrity of the election system was being attacked and trust in it was being eroded with disastrous consequences.”
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