Does Jewish Democrat Jason Kander have presidential aspirations?
The Missouri Secretary of State who recently lost his Senate bid to incumbent Republican Roy Blunt, is heading to Iowa later this month, the Kansas City Star reported. And making a trip to Iowa usually means only one thing - someone has his hopes set on a future run.
Iowa, the first state to hold caucuses, is considered a must-stop for any aspiring presidential candidate and many make more visits to Iowa than to most other states. Kander, 35, will give a speech at Progress Iowa’s annual holiday party in Des Moines on December 20. A month later he will end his term as Missouri’s Secretary of State and has yet to give any indication about his future plans.
Kander, an Afghanistan war veteran ran a tough campaign against Blunt, trying to brand the veteran politician as a Washington insider. He also called for gun control legislation, and after being blasted by his rival on the issue, Kander ran a campaign ad showing him assembling an AR-15 machine gun. Blindfolded.
To be sure, Kander is unknown outside his home state and at the age of 35 with hardly any political experience, he is unlikely to launch a full fledged presidential race. But his not-so-subtle hint could position the up-and-coming Democrat as a contender for national office down the road, tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former top Obama political adviser.
A lot of Democratic operatives are interested in what office Kander wants to run for next. Doesn’t have to be in Missouri… https://t.co/ipM35iVCO2— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) November 30, 2016
His race, in a state that has voted for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections, was marked as one of the most hopeful battles for Democrats wishing to win over the Senate majority. At his peak, Kander reached a dead heat against Blunt in the polls, but on Election Day he ended up losing by a 3% margin.
Still, Kander is definitely on the radar screen of Democrats as one of the party’s future leaders. He wowed even Vice President Joe Biden. “Whoa, this horse can run,” Biden said of Kander before the elections. “This guy can run, this guy’s a candidate.”
And what could be a better place than Des Moines, Iowa, to start the race, which is only four years away.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.