Republicans want Democrats to stop probing Iowa race, but silent on similar Illinois challenge

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has been vocal about what he calls Democratic efforts to overturn the election of Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, in favor of Democrat Rita Hart. 

But what McCarthy and other Republicans haven’t mentioned is that a Republican who lost to Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District similarly appealed the loss to the House Administration Committee. The panel is also investigating the outcome of that race, with briefs filed with the House as recently as March 18. 

Republican candidate Jim Oberweis took his case to the House Administration Committee earlier this year without going to court. Oberweis lost to Underwood by more than 5,000 votes. Illinois election officials certified Underwood as the winner.

Oberweis contends there were voting irregularities in seven counties that make up the 14th District. Underwood filed a brief this month with the House Administration Committee, asking that the panel dismiss Oberweis’ complaint. Republican leaders have not championed Oberweis’ effort to overturn the outcome in the race.

GOP Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (left) and Democrat Rita Hart (right) had the closest 2020 congressional election in the nation. Miller-Meeks was declared the winner in Iowa by just six votes. Hart is contesting the result with the U.S. House of Representatives.
(Getty Images)

But there are some parallels:

GOPers have criticized Hart for taking her case to the House Administration Committee and not contesting the outcome in the courts. Oberweis has done the same. Miller-Meeks asked that the House Administration Committee dismiss Hart’s appeal. Underwood has asked the committee to do the same with the challenge from Oberweis.

Republicans note that Iowa election officials certified the outcome of the Iowa race. Illinois election officials did the same with Underwood’s victory.

Republicans have argued that appealing such cases to the House Administration Committee sets a dangerous precedent — but have largely been silent about Oberweis’ challenge. Granted, Underwood defeated Oberweis by 5,000 votes. It’s a swing district. Miller-Meeks defeated Hart by just six votes — also in a swing district.

But there’s been virtually no attention focused on the Illinois race.

Here is the most recent filing in the Illinois race from mid-March. Notably, attorney Mark Elias is handling the case on behalf of Underwood.

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