Trailing by 47 votes, the Rita Hart campaign requests recount

Rita Hart for Iowa announced on Thursday morning that the campaign would request a recount in all 24 counties that make up Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.


In this diptych, Iowa State Sen. Marinette Miller-Meeks is seen on April 9, 2019 and Democratic candidate Rita Hart are seen Sept. 26, 2020.

Natalie Dunlap, News Reporter

In the narrow 2nd Congressional District race, the Rita Hart campaign is asking for a recount in all 24 counties of the district, the campaign announced on Thursday.

Nine days after the election, constituents in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District still don’t know which candidate will represent them in Washington. Miller-Meeks leads Hart by just 47 votes after two misreported precincts see-sawed the lead between the two candidates this past week.

Since midnight on election night, the Republican Candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Democrat Rita Hart have never been separated by more than a few hundred votes. In the last few days, the margin has narrowed to a couple dozen votes. Correcting human error at precincts in Jasper and Lucas counties changed the front runner, first to Hart, then back to Miller-Meeks

In an emailed statement on Thursday, campaign manager Zach Meunier pointed to those precinct reporting changes and the narrow margin as the reason for the recount.

“With so much at stake in this election and such a slim margin separating the candidates, Iowans deserve to know categorically that their ballots have been accurately counted,” wrote Meunier. “Over the last several days, multiple consequential errors have materialized in this race that have serious implications for the district’s future representation. Given the errors found in Jasper and Lucas counties at the eleventh hour, we are moving forward today with requests for a complete recount of each precinct in the Second Congressional District to make sure all results have been reported accurately. Anything less will perpetuate doubt around this election.”

The statement said the campaign will deliver written filings to all 24 county auditors outlining the request for a recount by the end of the day on Friday. The deadline for a recount to be completed is 18 days after the canvass, or Nov. 28.

Miller-Meeks has declared victory twice now in the race since election night. First, when she led by a few hundred votes after midnight on Nov. 4, and then on Tuesday after the correction in Lucas County put her back in the lead. 

The Associated Press announced it would not call the race until Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate certifies the results. The statewide certification will happen on Nov. 30.