Sara Craig Gongol joins small group of top Iowa women staffers

The first woman elected to our state’s highest office has picked the third woman to serve as an Iowa governor’s chief of staff.

Sara Craig Gongol will replace Governor Kim Reynolds’ current chief of staff Ryan Koopmans, effective December 15. Craig Gongol was a leading campaign strategist for Reynolds this year and has been “a key member of my team” since 2014, the governor said in a December 11 press release.

The appointment inspired me to look into which women have held the top staff position for governors or members of Congress from Iowa. Like Craig Gongol, who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 Iowa caucus campaign, several women who managed high-level Iowa campaigns went on to serve as chiefs of staff.

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Cory Booker gave the speech Democrats needed

It would be hard to overstate how dispirited, angry, exhausted, and hopeless many Democrats felt after watching the Brett Kavanaugh nomination play out. Not only have right-wing, partisan ideologues solidified their control of the U.S. Supreme Court, millions of sexual assault survivors feel like the Republican-controlled Senate punched them in the gut.

No one would have blamed Senator Cory Booker for missing the Iowa Democratic Party’s Fall Gala on October 6. He was stuck in Washington as Republicans scheduled a Saturday afternoon vote on Kavanaugh, without a full investigation of sexual assault allegations or any acknowledgement that the nominee lied under oath repeatedly during his Senate Judiciary Committee testimony.

Booker cast his vote against Kavanaugh, rushed to the airport and made it to Des Moines in time to give the keynote speech to more than 1,000 activists. Outside the hall afterwards, I heard one sentiment over and over again: Booker’s uplifting message was just what people needed to hear on a discouraging day.

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With Democratic House majority in sight, a larger wave may be coming

Dan Guild previously analyzed House generic ballot polling and past wave elections. -promoted by desmoinesdem

We are now 35 days from the 2018 election. For most of 2018 there has been speculation about the Democrats taking the House. But until the last month the data on individual districts has been sparse, and predictions have been based on things like the generic ballot which is itself subject to significant error.

The table below lists the seats that will decide if the Democrats retake the House. It is based on the Democratic margin from 2016. If there is an incumbent running, his or her margin in 2016 is used, if not then Clinton’s margin is used. I have also included a running tally of the number of seats the Democrats would win if they won every seat in a particular group. For example if the Democrats every seat where the GOP margin was 7 points or less they would win 218 seats, exactly the number of seats needed for majority.

What the chart shows is just how protected the Republicans are as a result of gerrymandering.

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Forgiveness. Can you imagine?

The coming Jewish high holidays inspired this reflection by Ira Lacher of Des Moines. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The Jewish people are about to enter into the annual Ten Days of Repentance — Aseret Yemei Teshuva in Hebrew — in which, by tradition, we take stock of our behavior of the last year. Jews don’t have daily confession; we let it build up over 365 days and then try to purge ourselves of shame, guilt and what many of us would call sin, as we pray to God for another year of well-being.

“For the sins of one against God, God forgives,” says an age-old prayer. “But for the sins of one against another, God does not forgive, unless they have made peace with one another.”

So, as my people make preparations for this season of confession, I would like to confess: I’ve made my peace with Germany.

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