Jason Kander

Former Secretary of State Jason Kander stands outside a St. Louis polling place on Election Day in 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Often when a candidate loses a high-profile race, he or she prefers to lay low for a while. That’s not the case for former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

It’s been three months since he narrowly lost his bid to oust Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.  Since then, Kander has attracted— and seemingly sought —more national attention than he had during the campaign.

But in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio, the 35-year-old Democrat downplayed the significance. 

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of Missouri residents said they wanted voters to have to show a photo ID at the polls, and lawmakers obliged.

Now, state officials must figure out how to pay for the law, which goes into effect June 1.

The Missouri Capitol Building at dusk
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A cold arctic blast greeted lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters who filtered into the state Capitol Wednesday for the start of Missouri's 2017 legislative session.

But it didn't take long for things to heat up, at least on the House side of the building.

Jay Ashcroft
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State-elect Jay Ashcroft is planning to overhaul the office’s operations when he takes over Jan. 9.

Transition team member Steele Shippy confirmed Friday that some employees have been told they will lose their jobs, but he denied that most or all of the office’s 270 workers are being targeted.  "There's been no blanket email or communication that says they are all being let go,'' he said.

"Is the office going to undergo changes? Absolutely. We're doing a reorganization of the entire secretary of state's office."

Reny Alfonso, 7, carries American flag pinwheels at the "Forward Together" bus tour kickoff event outside the Missouri History Museum Sunday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Out of the seemingly infinite adjectives to describe politics in 2016, the one that came to mind is exhausting.

This year featured enough twists, turns, surprises, setbacks, revelations, triumphs and defeats to fill a set of encyclopedias. From competitive presidential and statewide primaries to epic general election battles, 2016 will clearly be remembered as a watershed year in the Show Me State's political history.

Republican president-elect Donald Trump’s victory margin in Missouri appears to have set a state record for a presidential contender, beating out the old one set by Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

On Nov. 8, Trump captured 523,443 more votes than the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. In 1964, Johnson defeated Republican Barry Goldwater by 510,809 votes.

Trump's number of Missouri votes – 1.594 million – also appears to set a state record for a presidential candidate.

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans Tuesday night experienced their greatest triumph in the Show Me State’s modern history. And Missouri Democrats had arguably their worst night ever.

Those two declarative statements may seem like hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Tuesday marked the first time ever Republicans won seven statewide elections in a single night. And with commanding majorities in the Missouri General Assembly, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be in a profoundly powerful position to enact his agenda – and to sign longstanding GOP priorities into law.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster, with Senate candidate Jason Kander in the background, and Republican Eric Greitens end their day-before election blitz in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI and Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with late rallies) - Nothing illustrates the tightness of Missouri’s top contests – and the pivotal role of St. Louis area voters – like dueling rallies held within hours of each other.

So does the last-minute appeals by President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Late Monday, Trump tweeted his support for GOP gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens. Meanwhile, Obama is appearing in a radio ad and in robocalls for the Democrat running for governor, Chris Koster.

St. Louis resident Jonathan Pulphus votes at Patrick Henry Elementary School on Sept. 16, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s long, weird, sad, contentious, explosive and unpredictable election cycle is almost over.

In roughly 24 hours, Missourians from Tarkio to New Madrid will head to the polls. Beyond registering their presidential preferences, the good people of our state will decide on pivotal U.S. Senate and governor’s races. They’ll also choose who fills out practically and politically important statewide offices and figure out how large the GOP majorities in the Missouri General Assembly will be after January.

A collage of Missouri statewide and area congressional candidates on 2016 ballot
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

As this election season finally winds down, St. Louis Public Radio is putting together a lot of the campaign coverage we did this year in the hope that readers can find the information they need before casting their votes. 

Vice President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd of supporters at a rally for Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander at The Pageant.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Vice President Joe Biden swung through St. Louis Friday to extol a largely youthful crowd to send Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander to the U.S. Senate.

Biden spoke to hundreds of people at The Pageant, a popular music venue in St. Louis. His visit comes amid a tightening race between Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in a contest that could determine whether Democrats take over the U.S. Senate next year.

Kander's aides estimated that nearly 2,000 people came to hear Kander and Biden speak.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt enjoys referencing the movie Spaceballs in his campaign speeches.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

In the early years of his political career,  U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt had a reputation as a reformer. 

In 1992, Blunt — then Missouri secretary of state — ran a stunning ad that accused fellow Republican Bill Webster of engaging in “pay to play” in the Missouri attorney general’s office.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jason Kander speaks at a labor rally in St. Charles earlier this fall. Kander is squaring off against U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt this November.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s a dreary, rainy day in Troy, Missouri, and Jason Kander is about to meet a small group of veterans at the Roasted Bean Coffee Shop. In a weird, parallel universe, the 35-year-old Democrat would be stumping for his second term as secretary of state. But Kander’s aiming higher and is focusing his time and energy on trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Few national pundits believed Kander’s gambit would be worthwhile. They looked at presidential results and polls, and concluded (wrongly) Missouri was just too Republican for a Democrat to prevail. But Kander never bought into that type of assumptive prognostication. And now, Kander is within striking distance of being a building block for his party’s return to power in the U.S. Senate.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

In a sign of how competitive Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest has become, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – held dueling roundtables with area military veterans.

Wednesday’s events were intended to underscore how both men are highlighting their armed services credentials, and emphasizing their concern about the problems facing the nation’s military.

Hillary Clinton St. Louis union dec. 2015
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sending $500, 000 into Missouri to aid U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander and gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Monday the campaign is assisting Koster and Kander even though it acknowledges that Republican Donald Trump is expected to carry the state. The money is to be spent on radio ads, fliers and digital advertising.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander at state Democrats' annual Truman Dinner. Campaign aide Chris Hayden is to his right.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In the humble opinions of national pundits that monitor congressional races, Jason Kander pretty much came out nowhere to get on their national radar.

The Washington Post, Roll Call and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball recently declared that Missouri’s U.S. Senate race was a “toss-up.” And these prognosticators, in general, are very surprised that Kander made the race close. For instance: When Roll Call ranked Kander as the best Senate challenger of the 2016 cycle, the publication called the development “remarkable” for a race “that most analysts considered a second-tier contest when the summer began.”

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Excluding the independent spending by outside groups, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander is still out-raising the man he hopes to defeat, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. But in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests, Blunt is the bigger spender as the duo head into their final weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

The latest campaign finance reports – made public by both contenders a few days early – show that Kander has collected just over $3 million since July.  That compares to close to $1.9 million for Blunt.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Missouri TV viewers may see a deluge of new ads focusing on the U.S. Senate contest — and those ads may not be from the candidates’ campaigns.

In the wake of Sunday’s presidential debate, political activists in both parties privately say they expect more outside money to be spent in the state shortly on behalf of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

Why? Because of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's latest national surge in the polls. 

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, stuck to their long-standing playbooks of pitches and attacks during their first – and possibly, only – joint appearance on the same stage.

They were among five U.S. Senate contenders on stage at Friday’s forum in Branson sponsored by the Missouri Press Association. 

Although Kander has accepted two other debate invitations, Blunt so far has not.

Jason Kander, left, and Roy Blunt
Carolina Hidalgo and Sen. Blunt's Flickr page

Democrat Jason Kander’s new TV ad, which shows him assembling an assault weapon blindfolded, already has been hailed by the Washington Post as the best campaign ad so far this year.

That’s just the latest evidence of the national attention – and money – that’s been pouring into Missouri for months to aid or attack Kander or the man he hopes to defeat in November, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Jason Kander speaks at the Missouri Democratic Party's annual dinner, the Truman Dinner, at Busch Stadium.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Missouri’s already nationally watched contest for the U.S. Senate is getting swept into the St. Louis region’s latest spat of vote-related woes — including the current court fight over absentee ballots cast in the Aug. 2 primary for a legislative seat whose boundaries are within the city of St. Louis.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has been running a TV ad that seeks to tie those controversies to how his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, has performed his job. Blunt also has raised general questions about Kander’s performance during his recent campaign stops.

Kander has pushed back.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson speaks at a news conference on Tuesday in favor of a tobacco tax increase for early childhood education and health care.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians could weigh in this fall on four ballot initiatives that Secretary of State Jason Kander certified on Tuesday. But the tally of items could potentially constrict, depending on what courts decide in the coming weeks.

Jason Kander skipped Philadelphia to travel the roads of Missouri. The incumbent he's challenging, Sen. Roy Blunt, will travel  next week.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On two points, Missouri’s two major candidates for the U.S. Senate seem to agree:

  • Skip your presidential convention.
  • Hit the road in a campaign bus.

Jay Ashcroft, left, and state Sen. Will Kraus are both running for the GOP nomination for secretary of state.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that the Republican primary election for secretary of state is a choice between a familiar name and a familiar policymaker.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has outraised his Democratic rival, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, according to the latest campaign-finance reports due later this week. But the gap in their bank accounts is closing.

Copies of their official summary sheets due Friday — but made available early to St. Louis Public Radio — show that Blunt collected $2.3 million during the last three months, compared to $1.75 million for Kander.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Prompted by a Democratic filibuster, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on proposals to expand the nation’s background checks for gun purchases, and to bar some people on no-fly lists from purchasing guns.

But the proposals are expected to highlight a sharp divide over what Congress should do, if anything, in the wake of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando that killed at least 49 people in a gay nightclub.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster greets attendees at the Truman Dinner, the Missouri Democratic Party's annual gathering.
File photo by Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 13, 2016 with statement from Carrier, in response to Koster speech  -- Over dinner and drinks Thursday night at Busch Stadium, hundreds of Missouri Democrats exuded more optimism than they have in years.

Everyone seemed happy with Hillary Clinton as their party’s presidential nominee. But many were even happier that Donald Trump is leading the opposition.

The LG PAC is airing an ad attacking Missouri Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Brunner.
Screen capture | YouTube

Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor each claim to be shocked by the emergence of a new political group, LG PAC, that has launched a $1 million TV ad campaign this week.

That spending is more than all of the state’s gubernatorial candidates have spent on TV so far -- combined.  LG PAC also is just the latest of a series of groups, with unknown donors, that are spending money to aid or attack Missouri’s statewide candidates.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

In the midst of a re-election campaign, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he won’t be attending this summer’s Republican presidential nominating convention in Cleveland.

Blunt has attended most presidential conventions during his congressional career, although he notes that his visits have usually been only for a day or two. His decision to skip this one entirely, he says, has nothing to do with the party’s turmoil over its likely nominee, Donald Trump – nor his heated fall contest against Democrat Jason Kander.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

With Missouri’s primary and general elections just months away, some of the state’s top candidates are focusing on their base as much as their bank account.

That’s particularly true of the state’s U.S. Senate candidates — Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and his Democratic rival, Secretary of State Jason Kander.

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