Jason Kander

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Many health care advocates breathed a sigh a relief after the Senate’s recent efforts to scrap the Affordable Care Act failed in late July.

But local and national participants in a rally at Kansas City’s City Hall Wednesday afternoon had a message for those concerned about the fate of healthcare: Don’t let up.

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.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

We take a close look at election results from Kansas, Missouri, and the nation with a panel of political journalists. We're also joined by Kansas City 4th District Councilwoman Jolie Justus, U.S.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Veteran GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri kept his job Tuesday, riding the Republican wave of winners across the country.

Blunt, 66, easily overcame his Democratic challenger, Jason Kander. Blunt was part of the pack of Republicans racking up wins, including Eric Greitens in the Missouri governor's race and Donald J. Trump in the presidential race.

Blunt met with his supporters at a Springfield hotel where the crowd was chanting "USA! USA!"

Wikimedia Commons

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, we get a local and national perspective on the tight race for the U.S. Senate between Republican incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt and Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, his Democratic challenger.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

With Election Day a week away, we check in with local political reporters for analysis of elections in Kansas and Missouri. Then, political commentator E.J. Dionne discusses the presidential campaign and themes from his book Why the Right Went Wrong. We finish with this week's Statehouse Blend Kansasfeaturing state Rep.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Senate hopeful Jason Kander has returned $25,000 in campaign contributions that are connected to an alleged straw donor system by a prominent Democratic law firm.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt may currently be Missouri's freshman senator but he has worked in the Capitol since 1997. Early in his career, he served as chief deputy whip for the GOP, eventually becoming House majority leader in 2005 and 2006.

Republican Roy Blunt has represented Missouri in Washington, D.C., for 19 years. After seven terms in the House of Representatives, Blunt moved to the Senate in 2010. Now, Blunt finds himself in a tight race against Democrat Jason Kander that may cost his party control of the U.S. Senate. Also, Brian McTavish presents the latest Weekend To-Do List.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt on Thursday denied ownership of pro-tobacco legislation that he tried to place in a homeland security bill in 2002, a criticism that has dogged him for a decade.

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.

Aaron Pellish / KCUR 89.3

It's been 40 years since Missouri voters have sent two Democrats to represent them in the U.S. Senate. If Jason Kander has his way, that will soon change.

A recent poll released by Monmouth University indicates Kander, the state's Secretary of State since 2013, has narrowed incumbent Roy Blunt's lead to within the margin of error.

Aaron Pellish / KCUR 89.3

Missouri hasn't had two Democratic U.S. Senators in 40 years, but Jason Kander is looking to change that. Today, we speak with the current Missouri Secretary of State about his run to defeat incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt in what has become a very competitive race.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren rallied in Kansas City Friday for fellow Democrat Jason Kander, saying he is the candidate for the working middle-class while GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt works only for “millionaires and billionaires.”

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Chris Wells’ orders are crisp, terse and quick.

“Shooter ready. Access,” Wells says to his student. “Fire. Sight. Fire. Scan and access. Place the firearm on safe. Re-holster.”

His student reacts to each command, pulling his pistol from back and under his shirt, and fires twice. He then sets the safety and puts the pistol back into the waistband of his jeans.

“Alright,” Wells says, “good job, good job.”

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.

YouTube

GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri responded Tuesday to a much talked-about political ad by Secretary of State Jason Kander, fighting back as his Democratic challenger grows closer in the polls.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's episode of the Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Joe Don McGaugh (R-Carrollton) talks about the 2016 veto session and the upcoming election.

Guests:

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

As the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri is tightening, the candidates are taking on the bread-and-butter issues they hope will resonate with voters.

Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is challenging GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, on Wednesday met with a group of college students and university administrators about the high cost of college.

Kander told the group that he believes those costs – and resulting high student loan debt – is a middle-class issue that affects generations of families.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Talk of Missouri being in play as a presidential swing state this year is also being taken seriously with down-ticket state races.

FiveThirtyEight, the popular site of statistical stories, says polling showing Hillary Clinton within just two points of Donald Trump may make Missouri one of the states swinging from red to blue this year.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Every other Wednesday, the Rollin’ Grocer truck parts outside the Victoria Arms Building so residents can buy fresh food.

“Kansas City is the No. 6 city in the nation for food deserts,” says Natasha Ria El-Scari with Rollin’ Grocer. “Anywhere there’s more than one mile of walking distance or you have to catch more than two buses to get there is considered a food desert.”

There’s a Thriftway closer than that, but many of the people who live here are elderly or disabled. They’d have to cross 63rd Street in walkers or wheelchairs.

Last night's primary election was an exciting one on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, losses by several conservative Republicans caused a surprising swing to center. In Missouri, a bruising primary campaign for governor ended with Eric Greitens as the Republican nominee.

Guests:

Missouri:

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon came to Kansas City Wednesday to sign legislation strengthening laws against human trafficking.

“We tend to think of human trafficking as something that happens in a distant, undeveloped country,” Nixon said. “But the tragic reality is, right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, picked up an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday.

“He values American energy exploration,” said U.S. Chamber National Policy Director Rob Engstrom. “He knows it’s the fastest way to create jobs in this country. He’s also not afraid to push back against the EPA and the other alphabet soup of government agencies.”

File photo

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday his candidacy for U.S. Senator in 2016. Kander made the announcement in a press release and in a video posted to his website

"For years, even with our economy suffering at home and our national security threatened abroad, too many politicians in both political parties have been more concerned with scoring political points than doing what's right for our country and its hurt all of us," he says in the video.

In the midst of his second term, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to travel the state to promote his agenda for the state. He has heightened his profile even more in recent days, as he has blasted a tax-cut proposal that the General Assembly has landed on his desk.

But Nixon has effectively dropped one activity that used to take up a lot of his time: campaign fundraising.

Missouri Secretary of State's Office

Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander, released a proposal Tuesday to change Missouri's campaign finance regulations. But, it is a long-shot in the Republican-led legislature.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Kander about his goals with the proposal and what the biggest problems are.

Guest:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has unveiled a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year. It includes restoring campaign contribution limits, banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials, and requiring a 3-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists.

Kander says if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best.

Missouri Secretary of State's Office

The campaign money's flowing in Missouri. Or could you say "gushing?"

On Thursday June 27, Attorney General Chris Koster, an early favorite to become the next governor of Missouri, picked up $25,000 from a Kansas City law firm and $12,500 more from an eastern Missouri labor union.

The day before, state Auditor Tom Schweich picked up $10,000 from a St. Louis area business owner.

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