Kander Says Campaign Has All the Momentum, Asks Voters to "Put in the Work"

Nov 1, 2016

With polls showing a near toss-up in the race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander, the candidates are touring the state in a final push to get out the vote. 

On Tuesday, Missouri’s Secretary of State addressed some 50 supporters at Big Momma’s Coffee on Springfield’s north side. Kander reiterated his stance that he’ll be an advocate for the middle class.

“So we need more people in Congress who understand that college has to be more affordable or middle class families are gonna struggle under that debt for generations. We need people to understand that the middle class needs a tax cut more than a multi-national corporation needs a tax loophole.”

Jason Kander looks on as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (left) encourages his supporters to get out the vote during a stop Tuesday in Springfield.
Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU

He called on supporters to help spread the word over the next seven days, adding that his campaign has “all the momentum” but “we’re gonna have to put in the work.”

Joining Kander was Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who some have compared him to given the odds against Kander when he first entered the race. Facing slim odds herself on the eve of Election Day in 2013, Heitkamp won her race by about 3,000 votes.

“It happened because in little cafés all across North Dakota, in little small towns, in little polling places or calling centers for the Democratic Party; people just like you believed that I could win.”

Heitkamp added that the race is now out of Kander’s hands, and is up to the people.

On Wednesday, Blunt will appear with Texas senator and former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in Springfield, along with statewide GOP candidates. The event begins at 5 pm at National Safety Compliance Inc., 424 N Cedarbrook Ave.

Throughout his campaign Kander has challenged that Blunt has lost touch with Missourians and is more focused on “representing Washington.” Asked how he could avoid a similar fate, Kander said “not everybody who goes to Washington becomes Washington.”

He added, “At the end of the day it’s really for me about the fact that there’s absolutely nothing that can be asked of me in the United States Senate that is more difficult than what was asked of me just on a regular Tuesday or any other weekday in the United States Army.”

Tune in for live election coverage from NPR News and KSMU Tuesday, Nov. 8 beginning at 7 pm. And follow our online coverage of this U.S. Senate race, statewide contests and other races appearing on Greene County ballots here.