Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D-MO) made ten trips to Iowa and seven trips to New Hampshire since the 2016 election cycle, according to The Hill.
That’s more than any other potential 2020 candidate.
Kander, 36, was a state rep. from 2009 to 2013. In 2012, he ran for Missouri secretary of state and defeated Republican Shane Schoeller by just two percentage points, 49%-47%.
Kander served only one term. Instead of running for re-election in 2016, he challenged incumbent one-term Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). Kander lost by three points, 49%-46%.
Meanwhile, Trump defeated Clinton in Missouri by 19 points, which means Kander picked up a lot of Trump voters.
After losing, he became a Twitter superstar, garnering nearly 300,000 followers by simply criticizing Donald Trump. He also started an anti-Voter ID group called Let America Vote and became a CNN contributor.
A June 2017 Politico Magazine article titled “How Jason Kander Won by Losing,” argued that Kander is a superstar because he’s young, good looking, and only lost to Blunt by three points:
“To hear Democrats from Barack Obama on down tell it, Kander is the future of the party: young, energetic, an insistently progressive lawyer from a red state, a devoutly anti-Trump military veteran … and, like the Democratic Party, not currently anywhere near power.
Since losing his Senate race to Blunt last year—Kander nearly won in a state Clinton lost by 19 points, and picked up 220,000 crossover Trump voters by running on a progressive economic message—he’s become a star of the Democratic grassroots circuit.”
In July 2017, the Washington Post posted an article titled “Jason Kander lost a big Senate race. In today’s Democratic Party, he’s still a rising star.”
I’m not kidding, and this was a news story.
WaPo’s argument? He’s a normal person:
“In 2016, Kander was widely considered the best Democratic recruit running for Senate. He had the look: young and fit, a guy comfortable in a skinny tie or fatigues. He had the life story: Married to his high school sweetheart, he had joined the military after 9/11, served in Afghanistan and came home to enter politics, eventually becoming the first millennial to hold statewide office in the country.
And perhaps most impressive for a politician, he kind of seemed like a normal guy.”
So is Kander the real deal?
Well, let’s look at the 2016 race. Was it really that impressive?
Kander ran well ahead of Clinton, garnering 220,000 more votes than her. That’s great until you realize Kander didn’t have the baggage that Clinton had. Almost every Democrat in the country ran ahead of Clinton. The big difference is that Kander ran against Roy Blunt, a Republican with baggage.
Another reason why Kander ran ahead of Clinton is because he’s a veteran in a state with a heavy veteran population.
Also keep in mind that Trump ran as a populist conservative who opposed NAFTA, which is one potential reason why Trump had the best performance for any Republican presidential nominee in Missouri since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
In theory, a one-term state secretary of state who never received 50% of the vote in a single statewide election and has no major accomplishments (in business or politics) shouldn’t be a major party presidential nominee. If Kander does win the party’s nomination, it would just go to show how thin the Democratic Party bench is.