JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Republican Party came out strongly against Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander over the past week, attacking him over his connection to the Hillary Clinton campaign, his wife’s job as a lobbyist and Kander’s efficacy as secretary of state.
While in the governor’s race the party has had to grapple with a nominee not fully embraced by rank-and-file Republicans, the party has been full-throated in its defense of the incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt.
Monday the party continued an attack on Kander over election issues as the FBI investigates absentee voter fraud in St. Louis County elections after similar issues this year in St. Louis City led to re-elections.
“Jason Kander’s tenure as Secretary of State has been defined by ballot blunders that continue to pile up on his watch,” said Rich Chrismer, a communications advisor to the Missouri Republican Party. “Now the FBI is investigating absentee voter fraud that occurred during Jason Kander’s service as Missouri’s chief elections official. Missouri voters want to know the record of the candidates running for office and Jason Kander offers an extreme liberal voting record as a state legislator and a record of ballot blunders and ineptitude as Secretary of State.”
As secretary of state, Kander has called himself the chief election official in the state. This year, in addition to the absentee voter fraud cases, there have been issues with ballots in St. Louis County.
Kander has asked his Elections Integrity Unit to investigate the issues and other investigations doubt his office could have done anything to prevent the problems. But he claimed to be the man in charge and the issues happened on his watch.
St. Louis Public Radio reported last month that Blunt also faced election issues when he was secretary of state.
Ties to Clinton
The Missouri Republican Party has also attacked Kander over his ties to Clinton, especially after her campaign contributed $500,000 to the Kander and Koster campaigns for “Get out the vote” efforts.
“Hillary Clinton is rewarding her hand-picked rubber-stamp Jason Kander with a half a million dollars in campaign cash in an attempt to buy an election,” Chrismer said. “As a national co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Jason Kander has been a rubber-stamp on the campaign trail, carrying Hillary Clinton’s liberal torch on issues, refusing to say if he believes Hillary Clinton is trustworthy and staying silent on her campaign’s attacks on Christians. Hillary Clinton wants rubber-stamp Jason Kander in the Senate to help carry her liberal agenda in support of ObamaCare, higher taxes and more government. Jason Kander and Hillary Clinton are one and the same and Missouri voters can send a message by refusing to support her rubber-stamp candidate for Senate.”
While he hasn’t campaigned with the Democratic nominee, Kander has supported Clinton. He appeared at a fundraiser in St. Louis for her in the spring.
The party also attacked Kander for refusing to speak against Clinton campaign emails that they say attack Catholics and Evangelicals.
“Jason Kander’s silence on Hillary Clinton’s camp attacking Catholics and Evangelicals for their religious beliefs speaks volumes,” Chrismer said. “By remaining silent Jason Kander is telling Missourians that he will refuse to stand up for them when their religious faith is under attack. Instead of condemning these anti-Christian comments, Jason Kander has chosen politics as a national co-chair for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Jason Kander won’t stand up to Hillary Clinton and he won’t stand up for Missourians.”
U.S. intelligence officials have said the emails were stolen from the Clinton campaign in a hack by the Russian government as part of an attempt to influence the presidential election. The emails in question were released by Wikileaks and show Clinton staffers, all Catholic and at the Center for American Progress at the time, discussing conservative Catholicism.
Attacking Kander over his Clinton ties could work for Blunt as Republican nominee Donald Trump has seen his Missouri numbers slide over the past couple of weeks. Blunt running as a check on a future president Clinton, as a Senate Leadership Committee ad made the case last week, could help him win split-ballot voters who won’t vote for Trump.
The state GOP has also attacked Kander over his wife’s lobbying role.
“Jason Kander is lying because he doesn’t want to talk about the harm his liberal policies would do to Missouri families,” Chrismer said. “The Kanders are attempting to mislead Missouri voters with a ridiculous assertion that Diana Kander’s lobbyist bios were ‘aspirational.’ Either they were lying then or they are lying now, and Jason Kander knows it.”
The party used Kander’s wife’s lobbying to call his attacks on Blunt hypocritical. Kander has attacked Blunt for his own ties to lobbyists, including his family. McClatchey detailed his ties last month.
Kander ads have attacked Blunt for the connection, but the GOP asks what leg he has to stand on if his wife has also served as a lobbyist.
“With his untruthfulness and hypocrisy, Jason Kander has revealed he is nothing more than a typical politician,” Chrismer said.