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Democrat Rita Hart drops contest for Iowa’s Second Congressional District seat

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WHEATLAND, Iowa (KWWL) -- After months of contests, Rita Hart is pulling out of the fight for Iowa's Second Congressional District. The Democrat made the announcement in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Hart lost the November election for the district by just six votes to Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks. She then filed a petition with the U.S. House, bypassing the Iowa court system, saying 22 ballots were not counted in the final tally.

Hart's campaign has faced criticism from both parties as some Democrats have said the move would further deepen the political divide in the country. Republicans, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, have stood firmly against the actions taken by Hart to continue to contest the election.

A district-wide recount was held and showed Miller-Meeks as the winner of the race by six votes, the tightest margin in a U.S. election in decades.

Hart's full statement can be found below:

"After many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest, I have made the decision to withdraw my contest before the House Committee on Administration. Since Election Day, and throughout this entire process, my mission has been about ensuring the voices of Iowans who followed the law are not silenced. I am saddened that some Iowans’ votes will not count through no fault of their own. The work of ensuring it does not happen again will continue beyond this campaign.

Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans. It is a stain on our democracy that the truth has not prevailed and my hope for the future is a return to decency and civility.

I wish Mariannette Miller-Meeks all the best as she serves the people of this great state as Congresswoman. This has been a difficult process for all of those involved and it’s incredibly important that we work together to reform the system so this does not happen again in the future.

Running to represent the people of Iowa’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I got in this race to listen to the people of the district and bring your voices of common sense and decency to Washington, D.C. We must work to end the partisan gridlock and deliver for the working people in Iowa who are struggling to make ends meet.

To those who invested in this campaign -- donating a few extra dollars they could spare or volunteering time -- and to ALL of my supporters, my campaign team, and to my family, my children and grandchildren, and especially my husband Paul, thank you so much for your hope and passion. I could not have persevered on this journey without your tireless dedication and commitment.

I am a life-long Iowan and I will always work for a more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. That won’t change regardless of this, or any, election. We have so much more to work for. I hope you all will stay involved and join me in working to make Iowa a better place for all."

Rita Hart, former Democratic candidate for IA-02
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