November 3, 2015

Jason Kander & Al Franken’s Close Financial Connections Spell Trouble In Missouri

A new Politico report details ultra-liberal Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s determination to play a major role in the 2016 senate elections:

Now the comedian turned senator, whose party lost control of the Senate to Republicans last year, is embarking on a yearlong campaign to help Democrats win it back and ensure that Senate races aren’t a forgotten undercard to the presidential contest.

One of the top targets on Franken’s list is the Missouri senate race. The report reveals a little-known fact – Franken and Democrat Jason Kander go way back:

Franken has connections from his status as a celebrity that are now paying off. In 2006, Franken traveled to Afghanistan with the United Services Organization and met a young soldier named Jason Kander, who is now challenging Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

The two chatted about the encounter during a recent fundraiser Franken held for Kander and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in California.

But Kander, happy to take Franken’s fundraising help, was like “Al who?” when asked about their relationship:

Still, Kander, who split with Franken and other Democrats on the president’s nuclear deal with Iran, played down the importance of support from national Democrats.

“Obviously, there are people around the country who want to see a change in Washington,” Kander said in an interview.

His comments reflect the fact that in a conservative-leaning state like Missouri, being directly connected to Franken could be as much a liability as a benefit.

Kander giving Franken the cold shoulder in the press isn’t surprising considering he’s running in a state where Mitt Romney beat President Obama by nearly ten points in 2012, but Kander will have a tough time explaining away their close connection.

In addition to having Franken host that California fundraiser for him, Kander has accepted $2,500 from Franken’s leadership PAC, Midwest Values PAC, and Franken has sent fundraising appeals on Kander’s behalf.

That’s a lot of interaction to have with a “liability” – clearly Kander is trying to have his cake and eat it too.