BY IVY BECKENHOLDT
Jennifer Konfrst, a Drake University professor, won her race for the Iowa House district 43 against Republican Michael Boal.
Konfrst previously ran for this seat in 2016, but lost by 530 votes, according to the Iowa Secretary of State 2016 General Election Canvas Summary. Konfrst said she had not planned to run again, but she decided to due to the legislature taking on measures in 2017 that were not campaigned on during the 2016 election.
The policies that Konfrst focused on during her campaign are, “funding for pre-k through 12 education, public education, on helping working families get jobs and incomes that work for them and on healthcare that’s affordable and available including mental health,” Konfrst said.
Prior to winning the election, Konfrst said winning would be an opportunity to “effect change and to really make a difference in this state.”
Now that Konfrst has won the election, she plans to make changes to her schedule, but to keep Drake as a large priority. Konfrst said that this experience can help her students as well.
“I feel like I can bring this experience to my students and tell them what it’s like to be the person deciding about messaging or direct mail or a campaign strategy and that means a lot to me as an educator, just being able to bring that experience to students,” Konfrst said.
On a personal note, Konfrst said this campaign has brought her an understanding about the people in Iowa.
“Most people, and everyone i’ve met are good people who want to make a difference, and we might disagree on how to get there but you know people are fundamentally good and that’s a really good reminder to see it at the local level because it can be so easy at the national level to see it only in divisive terms but when you see the people and get to know them, were really all just trying to better we just might disagree about how to get there,” Konfrst said.
The topic of a “blue wave” was of discussion prior to the election. Konfrst said that this “blue wave” set up expectations that were likely too high and set up failure. However, she said that there was a difference in voter engagement.
“They’re more aware of issues, this race really is in a lot of ways about issues and less about personality which is a refreshing change,” Konfrst said.
Lauren Selfridge, Drake University junior, said that prior to the election she thought the “blue wave” would occur, but she doubted that the impact would be as massive as predicted.
“I think the pink wave might be a bigger deal, a lot of the voters I’ve spoken to are voting for cindy and kim reynolds, so I think that’s an interesting perspective that we don’t see very often,” Selfridge said.
This “pink wave” Selfridge is referring to is the concept that voters may be more likely to favor female candidates. This “pink wave” may have benefited Axne, as she won her campaign.
Selfridge was a press intern for Cindy Axne during the 2018 campaign. Axne won the election for the 3rd district of Iowa in United States House of Representatives. The incumbent, David Young, lost his seat to the Democrat.
Selfridge said she supported Axne due in part to her commitment to education.
“She [Axne] was very upset to find out that her sons didn’t have access to all day kindergarten because the Des Moines school district basically rationed full day kindergarten, in the lottery her son got the half day program instead of the full day and she hadn’t heard about that, so she got a group of parents together and made it illegal to do that in the state of iowa, so now every iowan kindergarten can go to school all day, so that’s why I support her,” Selfridge said.
Governor Kim Reynolds won the election against Fred Hubbell. According to the Office of the Governor of Iowa website, Reynolds’ priorities include cutting taxes, investing in public schools and creating good-paying jobs.
Ivanka Trump visited West Des Moines on Nov. 2 to campaign for Reynolds. This visit may have helped Reynolds in her race against Hubbell by motivating the Republican base. Several Drake students who worked on the Reynolds campaign had the opportunity to view this event.