Thursday, February 19, 2015

DSCC Recruits Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander To Run For Blunt's Senate Seat


By Missouri standards, Kander is a progressive. The NRA gave him a "D" and the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition has ranked him between 86 and 100% since 2009. At 33, he's the youngest statewide-elected official in the whole country-- and he's very popular in Missouri and was expected to skate to reelection next year. He won't be as favored to beat Blunt in 2016-- even if Hillary at the top of the ticket is expected to make Missouri competitive-- but the entire state party has quickly united behind him, and the DSCC sees him as their best chance to win the seat. Gov. Jay Nixon quickly endorsed him and so did senior Senator Claire McCaskill: "There is no stronger candidate in Missouri to take on Senator Blunt than Jason Kander. And no one better to fight on behalf of Missouri’s working families."

A former member of the state Assembly, he successfully ran for Secretary of State in 2012 against Speaker Pro Tem of that body, State Representative Shane Schoeller in a terrible year for Missouri Democrats, which saw Mitt Romney beat Obama 1,482,440 (54%) to 1,223,796 (44%). On that same day, Kander beat Scholler 1,298,022 (48.9%) to 1,258,937 (47.4%).

Kander's career of public service as an Afghan War vet contrasts sharply with Blunt, a political hack, wheeler-dealer, and career politician. This morning the Kansas City Star perceptively asked the question-- why would Kander run now. "Why would Jason Kander, the 33-year-old Missouri secretary of state, bail out of a re-election race next year in which he was heavily favored to instead take on a sitting U.S. senator, Roy Blunt, who will be heavily favored to kick Kander’s backside all over the Show-Me State next year? Why would Kander take such a risk?" No doubt he thinks he can pull off a win but even if he loses-- and, let's face it, that's likely-- he'll be a likely appointee for a career-building federal position.

And now a slight caveat: last night, Chris Hayes began running a 3-part interview he did with former CIA-agent (which we embedded here) John Kiriakou. Kander was never in the CIA or NSA agent. He was an Army Intelligence Officer before volunteering to go to fight in Afghanistan. But Chris asked Kiriakou an important question though that I want to bring up here in light of the fear many people have that the American intelligence networks are infiltrating their own agents into Congress to take control of oversight of the agencies. Chris: "Before we go further, I've got to ask you this: I've had some experience talking to spooks in my reporting career and two things have struck me. One is a lot of them seem a little crazy. And the other thing is you guys are trained, paid liars..."
Kiriakou: Yes

Chris: Why should I believe anything you are saying to me now? You literally, professionally lied for decades...

Kiriakou: Yeah... you're trained to lie. You lie all the time; you cheat, you steal, you swindle, you trick people people... That is the nature of the job; yes. The problem at the Agency, often-times, is those guys don't know when to turn it off.
Last cycle, the spy agencies beat a pathetic Blue Dog with one of their own agents, William Hurd (R-TX) but, despite the best efforts of Steve Israel, failed to insert 3 of their own Democrats into House seats: Bobby McKenzie (MI), Kevin Strouse (PA) and Jerry Cannon (MI). We need to find out more about what Kander thinks about the spy agencies and the Seante's role in protecting American civilians from them.

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