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GOP House candidate’s lead shrinks as Iowa recount continues

November 23, 2020 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A slim lead held by a Republican candidate for an open congressional seat in Iowa has gotten even smaller as counties recount their votes.

Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks led Democrat Rita Hart by 47 votes in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in unofficial results before recounts began last week.

The Iowa Secretary of State’s office says Miller-Meeks’ lead has shrunk to 36 votes out of more than 394,000 cast as the recount continues. So far, 15 of 24 counties have completed recounts and sent their new unofficial totals to the state.

None of the four counties Hart carried have reported new totals, including Scott and Johnson.

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The Quad City-Times reports that both campaigns say Hart netted 30 votes in Scott County, where the recount concluded Saturday. If so, that would shrink Miller-Meeks’ lead to single digits.

Miller-Meeks’ campaign criticized the process used by the recount board in Scott County, arguing it is not allowed under state law and cannot be trusted.

That process involved conducting a machine recount, and then recounting ballots by hand that could not be read. Miller-Meeks’ campaign argues that Iowa law requires either a machine or a hand recount, not a combination.

Hart’s campaign argues that the recount boards — which include one representative from each campaign and one neutral member — have discretion to decide how to proceed.