Steal the House?

Paul notes below several razor-close House races, including especially Iowa 2, where the Republican candidate, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, is leading by six votes.

Prediction: if Miller-Meeks is certified as the winner, House Democrats will refuse to seat her in January, so desperate are they to secure every possible House seat they can. Can they do this? Yes—because House Democrats have done this before. Back in 1984, in what became known as “Indiana’s bloody eighth.”

This refers to Indiana’s 8th Congressional District, where, in the 1984 election, the Republican candidate, Richard McIntyre, who was challenging a Democrat incumbent, trailed narrowly on election night but was certified as the winner by 34 votes after a recount (and a second recount put him up by 400 votes). But the House Democratic majority refused to seat McIntyre in January 1985. Democrats voted to keep the seat vacant pending further “investigations” into the vote count. House Dems appointed a three-member select committee, consisting of two Democrats and one Republican, to look into it, and, citing “irregularities,” the full House voted on party lines in April to seat the Democrat incumbent, despite Indiana’s official certification of the Republican McIntyre as the winner. Democrats rejected Republican proposals to have a special election to settle the matter.

It was a naked partisan power grab, wholly unnecessary given the large Democratic House majority at the time (238-177). Does anyone think Democrats won’t resort to this again, with a majority so tiny that they won’t be able to pass resolutions memorializing National Orange Juice Week?

P.S.—Yes, you might well ask yourself: Gee, if the House can refuse to seat the certified winner of an election because of voting “irregularities,” why shouldn’t some state legislators think similarly about the “winner” of the presidential vote in several states this year? You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.

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