Jason Kander

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Jason Kander
Jason Kander Official Headshot.jpg
39th Secretary of State of Missouri
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 9, 2017
Governor Jay Nixon
Preceded by Robin Carnahan
Succeeded by Jay Ashcroft
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 44th district
In office
January 12, 2009 – January 14, 2013
Preceded by Jenee Lowe
Succeeded by Caleb Rowden
Personal details
Born (1981-05-04) May 4, 1981 (age 36)
Overland Park, Kansas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Diana Kander
Education American University (BA)
Georgetown University (JD)
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 2003–2011
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/wars War in Afghanistan

Jason David Kander (born May 4, 1981) is an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he was elected Secretary of State of Missouri in 2012, serving from 2013 to 2017, he previously served as a state representative. He was an intelligence officer in the Army National Guard, achieving the rank of Captain, he was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate, narrowly losing the 2016 Senate election to Republican incumbent Roy Blunt.[1]

After the Senate election, Kander founded an organization called "Let America Vote", a campaign dedicated to ending voter suppression and gerrymandering;[2] in 2017, he became a CNN contributor.[3] He has been in demand as a speaker at Democratic Party events around the country.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Kander was born on May 4, 1981, in Overland Park, Kansas,[5] the son of Janet and Steve Kander,[6] he was raised in a Jewish household.[7] His mother was a juvenile probation officer and his father was a police officer who later ran a small business, he graduated from Bishop Miege High School in 1999,[8] and attended American University. After the September 11 attacks, he enlisted in the Army National Guard. While earning his law degree at Georgetown University, he earned his commission through the University's ROTC battalion,[9] after completing his law degree, he volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan, where he served as a lieutenant.[10]

When he returned home, Kander took a position as an instructor at the Missouri Army National Guard's Officer Candidate School at Fort Leonard Wood.[11]

In 2010, Kander was named one of 10 finalists for the Army Reserve Association's Maj. Gen. Strom Thurmond Outstanding Junior Officer of the Year Award.[12] He was honorably discharged at the rank of Captain in 2011.[13]

Legislative career[edit]

Missouri House of Representatives[edit]

Kander was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2008.[14]

In 2010, Kander worked with Republican State Representative Tim Flook to pass the first major ethics reform bill in Missouri since 1991;[15] in 2010, he ran for re-election to his State Representative seat and won 69.6% of the vote to defeat Republican Sally Miller.[16]

During his time in the Missouri House, Kander was the chief sponsor of 28 bills, none of which became law.[17]

Missouri Secretary of State[edit]

Kander in November 2013 visiting Fort Leonard Wood

Kander announced his candidacy for the Missouri Secretary of State after Robin Carnahan announced she would not seek reelection.[18] Kander defeated MD Rabbi Alam in the primary election, winning the Democratic nomination.[19]

In the general election, Kander faced the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Missouri House, State Representative Shane Schoeller, as of the October Quarterly Report, Kander had $1,075,000 on hand[20] while Schoeller had $297,450[21] to spend for the rest of the election.

On November 6, 2012, Kander narrowly defeated Schoeller and was elected Missouri Secretary of State.[22]

Political positions[edit]

In 2009, Kander signed a Progressive State Network letter calling on President Barack Obama and the Democratic-led Congress to include a public option in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[23]

Kander supports retaining the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[24]

In 2009, Kander voted against a bill that would extend the Castle Doctrine to renters, the doctrine allows a homeowner to use deadly force against a perceived intruder.[25][better source needed] The NRA has given Kander a 7% rating.[26] Kander has also cited overturning Citizens United v. FEC as a political priority.[17]

Kander is pro-Israel and has called on Congress to stop the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.[27]

2016 U.S. Senate election[edit]

On February 19, 2015, Kander entered the race to represent Missouri in the United States Senate against Roy Blunt, the Republican incumbent,[28] he won the Democratic primary against three other candidates on August 2, 2016. Kander's campaign released an ad in September that showed the blindfolded senatorial candidate assembling an AR-15 rifle while explaining his support of background checks, the ad quickly went viral, and as of November 2016 the original YouTube video had earned over 1.3 million views.[29][30] Initially, Kander was well behind in the race, but polls started to show a tightening in the fall.[31] Kander was a national co-chair for Hillary Clinton,[32] during the campaign, Kander positioned himself as a Washington outsider and touted his experience as an Army Intelligence officer.[32] He was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.[33]

Kander was narrowly defeated by Blunt in the general election, receiving 46.4% of the vote to Blunt's 49.2%.[34]

Personal life and family[edit]

Kander is married to Diana Kander, an entrepreneur and author.[35][36] Diana and her family emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1989, the couple have one son named True, (born September 2013).[36]

Kander is the great-nephew of composer John Kander.[37]


  1. ^ Missouri U.S. Senate Results: Roy Blunt Wins, nytimes.com; accessed November 9, 2016.
  2. ^ Murphy, Doyle. "Jason Kander Launches Let America Vote to Fight Voter Suppression". 
  3. ^ "Politician Jason Kander Puts Down ‘Alt-Right’ Leader Richard Spencer Over ‘Cabaret’ Tweet". Variety (magazine). March 20, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2017. 
  4. ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (June 17, 2017). "How Jason Kander Won by Losing". Politico. Retrieved June 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ "A look at Mo. candidates for secretary of state". Southeast Missourian. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ Kraske, Steve (June 30, 2015). "Missouri and Kansas campaigns are scrambling for dough as June 30 deadline beckons". Kansas City Star. 
  7. ^ "Senate candidate influenced by Jewish upbringing". 
  8. ^ Wheeler, Luke (October 12, 2012). "Stag Debate: Producing Championships and Fostering Success for Miege Graduates" (PDF). 
  9. ^ Fernholz, Tim (August 24, 2007). "From Georgetown to the frontlines". The Georgetown Voice. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  10. ^ Martin, David (July 15, 2014). "Jason Kander tried to clean up Missouri politics, but the waters wanted to stay muddy". The Pitch. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Officer Candidate School gives Guardsmen chance to achieve goals". Moguard.com. December 4, 2010. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Missouri National Guard Soldier Receives National Recognition". Moguard.com. September 11, 2001. Archived from the original on February 19, 2015. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kander Military Records Redacted" (PDF). jasonkander.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 16, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2017. 
  14. ^ "State of Missouri Primary Election August 2008 Primary Election" (PDF). State of Missouri. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
  15. ^ Messenger, Tony (May 3, 2010). "Steve Tilley holds the key to fate of ethics reform bill". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  16. ^ "State of Missouri General Election Tuesday, November 02, 2010 As announced by the Board of State Canvassers on Tuesday, November 30, 2010" (PDF). State of Missouri. Retrieved August 30, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Bott, Celeste (October 31, 2016). "Jason Kander: a 'man on the move'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  18. ^ Kraske, Steve. "Jason Kander is quickly making his move". KansasCity.com. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ "November 6, 2012 General Election: Election Night Reporting: Missouri Secretary of State". Enr.sos.mo.gov. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Missouri Ethics Commission". mo.gov. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Missouri Ethics Commission". mo.gov. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  22. ^ Jason Hancock (December 4, 2012). "KC's Kander now secretary of state, and maybe on the rise". Kansas City Star Midwest Democracy. Retrieved January 16, 2013. 
  23. ^ "State Legislators for Progressive Health Care Reform". Web.archive.org. March 2, 2012. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  24. ^ Raasch, Chuck (August 16, 2016). "Clinton emails include one noting McCaskill, others, wary of Obamacare costs". stltoday.com. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  25. ^ "The NRA Is Spending Big on Senate Races in Florida and Missouri". Thetrace.org. September 16, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Jason Kander's Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. August 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Op-Ed: Congress must act to stop the BDS movement". Jason Kander. April 5, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Jason Kander Announces He Will Run for United States Senate". The Missouri Times (Press release). February 19, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  29. ^ Corasaniti, Nick (September 17, 2016). "In Missouri Senate Race, Challenger Makes His Point With a Blindfold and Rifle". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 6, 2016. 
  30. ^ Missourians for Kander (September 15, 2016), Background Checks, retrieved November 6, 2016 
  31. ^ "Emerson Poll: Trump Leads Clinton Nationally; Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri Remain Red; Colorado is Leaning Trump; Pneumonia Diagnosis Appears to Be Hurting Clinton" (PDF). Media.wix.com. Retrieved November 11, 2016. 
  32. ^ a b Bott, Celeste (September 20, 2016). "Blunt campaign responds to Kander's AR-15 ad: 'Missouri voters know what's important'". stltoday.com. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Planned Parenthood Action Fund Endorses Missouri's Jason Kander in Senate Race". Plannedparenthoodaction.org. August 11, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  34. ^ IT, Missouri Secretary of State -. "State of Missouri - Election Night Results". www.sos.mo.gov. 
  35. ^ "Biography of the Missouri Secretary of State". Missouri Secretary of State. Retrieved October 6, 2015. 
  36. ^ a b Kass, Abby (February 12, 2015). "Entrepreneur Diana Kander left legal profession to mentor students, others". Missourian. 
  37. ^ Newmark, Judith (June 24, 2012). "John Kander brings his memories to Muny's 'Chicago'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved December 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robin Carnahan
Secretary of State of Missouri
Succeeded by
Jay Ashcroft
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robin Carnahan
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Missouri
(Class 3)

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