At first blush, the biggest outstanding dispute of the 2020 election reads all too familiar: An Iowa congressional candidate—certified by the state as the loser in her election by just six votes—is continuing her challenge four months after Election Day with a battle cry to “count every legal vote.”
But the candidate in question, Rita Hart, is not a believer in a made-up voter fraud conspiracy. She is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who claims that 22 voters had their ballots wrongfully tossed and has persisted with a challenge—even as her party grows more uneasy about it. The role reversal isn’t limited to Democrats: Republicans are now hammering Hart for refusing to accept the results and move on despite constantly enabling President Trump’s boundless appetite for doing the same.
The contest in Iowa’s 2nd District, then, has become a funhouse mirror for 2020’s poisonous election politics. And it could produce an explosive final act to a seemingly never-ending election: Hart has appealed to the Democratic-run U.S. House of Representatives, where she’s found a receptive audience.