And no margin is closer than in Iowa’s 2nd district.
Do the math: Miller-Meeks leads Hart by 39 votes out of 393,695 votes cast and counted. (As of Monday morning, 89% of the vote was in.)
As you might expect with such a close margin, the two campaigns are fighting for every single vote. Miller-Meeks declared victory, but Hart called for a recount of all 24 counties in the district on November 12. The latest front in that fight is in Scott County, where Miller-Meeks campaign alleged Sunday that the recount is “illegal” because it is being done both by hand and by machine.
“Iowa law requires a recount in each precinct to be conducted either by Iowa’s reliable optical-scan ballot tabulating equipment or by a hand count. The Iowa Secretary of State has instructed recount boards to use one or the other, but not to combine the two,” said Miller-Meeks spokesman Eric Woolson in a statement.
The recount must be finished one way or another by this Saturday, November 28. Iowa’s secretary of state will certify the election results a week from today — Monday, November 30.
While it’s a near certainty that either Miller-Meeks or Hart will win by, at most, a few dozen votes, it’s unlikely to be the closest congressional race ever. That honor goes to the 1974 New Hampshire Senate race between Democrat John Durkin and Republican Louis Wyman. Wyman was initially declared the winner by a margin of 355 votes. A recount gave Durkin a 10-vote margin. A recount of the recount gave Wyman a 2-vote margin. So close was the race — and so inconclusive the result — that a special election was held between the two men in 1975 to declare a winner. Durkin won that race by more than 27,000 votes, a veritable landslide given the tightness of the 1974 contest.
For the moment, both Miller-Meeks and Hart are acting as though they’ve won. Both attended new member orientation in Washington earlier this month.