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Drake, Iowa, and the 2020 Election

As the nation holds its breath waiting for results on the presidential election, two members of the Drake community have already received results from their respective races. 

Public relations and strategic political communication associate professor Jennifer Glover-Konfrst held onto her seat in the Iowa House for another session. Konfrst first earned a spot as a District 43 representative in the House in 2018 and began her term in 2019.

“It really is an honor to win reelection,” Konfrst said. “I won by almost 15 points and that feels really good to have a resounding victory and not have to have a nail biter in my district. I worked very hard at constituent services. I worked very hard to serve my district all the time, not just during the election. It was a nice affirmation that I’m doing the right things.”

Nick Miller, a Drake senior, ran in his home district of District 19. As a strategic political communication major and small business owner, Miller ran on economic development, reinvesting in public education and investing in a sustainable future. According to the Des Moines Register, with 9,430 votes, Miller lost to Republican opponent Carter Nordman, who won 14,703 votes. 

“I feel very good about the race that we ran,” Miller said. “We ran a positive campaign; the amount of support that I received from so many people across the district, across the state and across the country has been humbling to say the least. I could not be more proud.”

House District 19 was previously represented by former House Majority Leader, Republican Chris Hagenow. However, after Hagenow announced his retirement, then 21-year-old Nordman stepped up as the Republican nominee. Nordman ran on creating a competitive business environment and creating a 21st century workforce in Iowa. 

“I commend . . . my opponent for stepping up to the plate, especially being so young,” Miller said. “We did our best to mutually respect each other as much as we could. After a phone call with him last night, it sounds that he is still open to some of our ideas. My goal is to at least try and get some degree of the solutions that we had accomplished still, despite not winning the election.”

The night was relatively rocky for Polk County Democrats running for the state house, as Democrats such as Karin Derry, Heather Matson and Andrea Phillips all lost what were seen to be non-competitive races. While Konfrst admits these democratic losses were surprising, she believes the best way to move forward is to incorporate progressive voices and policy into the platform.

“One of the big things that we have to do some soul searching about is who we are as a party and what we represent [and] how can we differentiate ourselves in a way that truly shows voters a contrast,” Konfrst said. 

Moving forward, Miller is ready to take a break after eighteen months of campaigning. However, he doesn’t discount the idea of running for office again in the future. 

“In [terms of] future aspirations for me, quite honestly, I don’t know,” Miller said. “I spent some time trying to think about what’s the next step for me. Now that the election is over, I can finally do my law school applications and get those done. And so, hopefully onto law school next, and then we’ll see where it goes from there.”

For her second term in the Iowa House, Konfrst has goals of securing COVID relief for Iowans, ensuring a safe and secure redistricting process and following through on other campaign goals. 

“Healthcare, jobs and education are always the things I care most about,” Konfrst said. “That hasn’t changed just because we remain in the minority.”

According to the Associated Press, Sen. Joni Enrst defeated Theresa Greenfield by more than 110,000 votes, securing a second term for Ernst. As for presidential results, Iowa was called for President Donald Trump late Tuesday night, awarding him the state’s six electoral votes. 

As of 11 a.m. on Nov. 4, mail-in votes are still being counted in key states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan. The race is too close to call for either Biden or Trump and all eyes will be on those states in the coming days.

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