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Iowa Democratic House candidate to request recount — she's trailing by 48 votes

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Democratic candidate Rita Hart is planning to file a recount request in the race for Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, where she trails Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks by only 48 votes. 

Hart's campaign manager noted Thursday that there have been errors in tabulation and data-entry identified in two counties in the past week. 

"Multiple consequential errors have materialized in this race that have serious implications for the district's future representation. Given the errors found in Jasper and Lucas counties at the eleventh hour, we are moving forward today with requests for a complete recount of each precinct in the Second Congressional District to make sure all results have been reported accurately. Anything less will perpetuate doubt around this election," Zach Meunier said in a statement. 

FILE: AUG 13: Former Iowa State Senator Rita Hart at home in Wheatland, Iowa. Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call

Iowa's secretary of state had already ordered an audit and recount in Lucas County on Tuesday, after one precinct reported test data and not the actual vote count. A similar order was issued in Jasper County, after a data error resulted in votes being given incorrectly to Miller-Meeks. The recount will be handled by county auditors and is expected to begin next week. 

Mariannette Miller-Meeks
FILE: SEPT 22: Mariannette Miller-Meeks, candidate for Iowa's 2nd congressional district, Sept. 22, 2014.  Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The race between Hart and Miller-Meeks is the closest House race in the country. CBS has not called the race, though Miller-Meeks claimed victory on Tuesday after counties conducted their canvassing on Tuesday.

"I express my heartfelt gratitude to the voters of Iowa's 2nd Congressional District and acknowledge my opponent Rita Hart's grace and positive demeanor during this challenging campaign. The election is over, and it is time to move forward together and focus on the priorities that will best serve Iowans," she said. 

Miller-Meeks said the recount will "ensure once again that every legal vote has been counted" and that she looks forward "to a speedy and efficient process to confirm that she is the winner of this race."

The Hart campaign will be filing recount requests in all 24 counties in the district by Friday. Iowa's election code says the recount must be completed within 18 days of each county board's canvass, which would be November 27 or 28. In a statement, the Hart campaign also urged county auditors to make sure there's social distancing and a supply of PPE for those conducting the recount. 

Iowa's 2nd District is an open seat left by retiring Democrat Representative Dave Loebsack, and was targeted by Republicans as a potential seat to flip. Republicans were able to cut into House Democrats' majority on election night. Also in Iowa, Republican Ashley Hinson has already succeeded in flipping the state's 1st District, though incumbent freshman Democrat Cindy Axne held onto Iowa's 3rd District seat.

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