Saint Louis, Mo. — Conventional wisdom may be that 2014 is going to be a strong Republican year, but don’t try telling that to Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who spent last week knocking doors in 20 House districts across the state, many of which are too close to call.
“We have some really tremendous candidates this year,” Kander told The Missouri Times. “In many cases, they’ve outworked their opponent. The environment isn’t tremendous because it’s a midterm election. But I think we’ve seen better coordination between House and Senate efforts and statewide officers as well. We’re all communicating between ourselves and the state party and I think it’s building a lot toward 2016.”
Kander was the youngest statewide elected official in the country when he won his 2012 race for SOS. He knocked doors in 20 House districts as an homage to the 20,000 doors Kander knocked in his 2008 House campaign.
“This is the second cycle in a row that Secretary Kander has come to knock doors with me,” Rep. Vicki Englund said. “It’s great to see him supporting candidates all over the state. It also gives him a good perspective on the different types of districts we as Democrats represent.”
Kander has also given $35K to Democrats in the 2014 cycle. Perhaps most importantly, though, Kander serves as a reminder to both voters and elected officials that when it comes to statewide offices, Democrats are still finding success.
“If you take federal elections out of it, [Democrats] have won 9 of the last 12 statewide races,” Kander said. “I think it’s important to remind folks that when voters of this state get together to vote as a block, they elect Democrats, and that’s because the majority party in this state has gotten just too radical for most voters.”
Kander’s party-building commitment will likely come in handy in the future. Republican state senator Will Kraus — who, like Kander, hails from the Western side of the state and has a background in the armed forces — has already announced intentions to challenge the young Democrat. And as a statewide Democrat with most of his career still in front of him, the state party is likely to be very keen on keeping Kander right where he is.
Kander said he not only enjoyed the “unfiltered” interaction with voters that comes knocking doors, but that he also earns a new perspective on politics.
“There’s a story behind every door and an opportunity at every door, I believe, to win someone over or at the very least have a conversation with them,” Kander said.
Kander’s 20 District schedule:
Monday: John Wright, Tom Pauley, Gracia Backer
Wednesday: Mark Ellebracht, John Mayfield, Stephanie Isaacson
Thursday: Tommie Pierson, Bob Burns, Deb Lavender, Vicki Englund, Tracy McCreery
Friday: Penny Hubbard, Alan Green, Michael Butler, Jeanne Kirkton, Bill Otto
Saturday: Sean Fauss, TJ McKenna, Bob Butler, Mike Frame