House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted Friday that the contested race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District may end up being reviewed by the House — like another disputed race in Iowa.
New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi was 28,422 votes behind former New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney on election night based on in-person ballots received during early voting on Election Day. But her massive lead disappeared to just 100 votes after almost 60,000 mail-in ballots were counted.
Both campaigns went to court to have a judge rule on disputes about more than 2,000 absentee and affidavit ballots. Although Brindisi commanded the recount by 12 votes several days ago, after more ballots were reviewed, the advantage swung back to Tenney, who now leads the contest by 12 votes.
Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced on Wednesday about her plan to file with the House Committee on Administration under the Federal Contested Elections Act. Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, who serves as the vice chairman of the committee, will lead a panel to review that petition.
“The issue relating to Iowa is an issue for the House Administration Committee. It’s my understanding that Rita Hart, an excellent candidate for Congress, will be asking the House to take this up. For further information about the technicalities of that, that becomes a House, not a political but a House Administration matter. The House decides who it will seat,” Pelosi told reporters Friday at her weekly news conference.
As for New York’s 22nd District, that’s “a completely different situation,” she said. “In New York, there could be 1,500, 5,000 votes not counted yet. So, that is going to the court Monday. And we’ll see what happens in the court. That may end up in the House. I don’t know, but the court will decide which votes will be counted.”
Congress last involved itself in a disputed close House race back in 1985. Known as the “Bloody Eighth,” a messy political fight erupted on the Democratic-controlled House floor over who would represent Indiana’s 8th Congressional District. The Democratic incumbent initially won by just 72 votes but lost to his Republican challenger by margins of 34 and 418 votes, respectively, following two state recounts.