ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Secretary of State and candidate for U.S. Senate Jason Kander and his campaign have been incessantly attacking incumbent U.S. Senator Roy Blunt for months as the 2016 campaigns heat up. Now, state lawmakers are coming to Blunt’s side to go on the offense.
Blunt apparently hopes to find clash beyond party messaging on the subject of sanctuary cities, a name given to a city in the United States that follows certain procedures that shelters illegal immigrants. The clash comes from an earlier statement from the Democratic candidate that he agreed with some parts of the Presidents’s executive amnesty order.
Blunt spoke in an official capacity in mid-October about how be believes sanctuary cities are dangerous.
“The administration’s been incredibly aggressive in expanding their authority and going beyond the law in areas like the Waters of the U.S. that federal courts have said shouldn’t be implemented yet or the mercury rule that 22 months after it was put in place the Supreme Court said that you don’t have the right to do that.
“They’ve also been very selective in which laws they’ve wanted to enforce, and in that environment, maybe it’s no surprise that a lot of cities have decided they can be selective in which laws you want to enforce.”
The Missouri Republican Party joined ranks shortly after, saying Secretary Kander is dodging the question of how he would vote, citing a response from Kander campaign manager Abe Rakov, who said Secretary Kander “is focused on his job and hasn’t had an opportunity to review the legislation being debated in Washington.”
“It’s funny how Jason Kander had time to review and announce his support for parts of Barack Obama’s executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants,” said Jonathon Prouty, Executive Director of the Missouri Republican Party. “But now, when Republicans propose common sense reforms to our broken immigration system, Kander can’t be bothered to tell Missourians where he stands. It’s clear that Jason Kander is not ready for primetime.”
Blunt’s points in his October speech have become talking points for those wary of sanctuary cities and the impacts of illegal immigration.
“Sanctuary cities don’t work,” Blunt continued. “They are outside what people have every reason to believe is a reasonable place for the government of the United States or their community to be. We are going to put that question to a test.”
In late-October, Blunt voted yes on a procedural motion to push for more debate on the matter in the Senate. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill voted no on the motion and does not support the bill.
The Blunt campaign put up a page on the campaign website Sunday with a quote from state Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, asking for the presumed Democratic nominee for the seat to take a stance on the issue.
“Jason Kander: tell Missourians how you stand on Defunding Sanctuary Cities (sic),” reads the quote from Onder.
The page names the Democrat by name in one of the first offensive attacks of the cycle.
“Jason Kander’s campaign recently claimed he was too busy to take a position on the efforts to defund Sanctuary Cities, which protect thousands of violent illegal immigrants from deportation,” the page reads. “There are too many American lives at risk to allow Jason Kander to hide from this issue. Tell Jason Kander to take a position on Sanctuary Cities today. Sign the petition.”
There are no sanctuary cities in Missouri.
The Kander campaign has not responded to requests for comment.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.