|Jason and Diana Kander|
Kander, a Democrat, was widely considered a front-runner in the mayoral campaign, but he posted a message to his campaign Web site and Facebook page saying he had experienced suicidal thoughts and was withdrawing from the race. Reports The Kansas City Star:
Kander posted a message on his campaign website and Facebook page saying that in the 11 years since leaving Afghanistan as an Army intelligence officer, he has experienced depression, nightmares and suicidal thoughts. He said he needed to abandon the mayoral race, in which he was seen as a front-runner to win the 2019 contest, to focus on his mental health.
“Instead of dealing with these issues, I’ve always tried to find a way around them,” Kander said. “Most recently, I thought that if I could come home and work for the city I love so much as its mayor, I could finally solve my problems. I thought if I focused exclusively on service to my neighbors in my hometown, that I could fill the hole inside of me. But it’s just getting worse.”
Quite a few political observers immediately questioned whether mental-health issues related to military service were the real reason for Kander's withdrawal. We have reported on Kander's apparent connections to fund-raising fraud and campaign violations, dating at least to his failed U.S. Senate race against GOP incumbent Roy Blunt. They include a scheme to buy Diana Kander (Jason's wife) a spot on The New York Times Bestseller List.
A number of commenters at the Tony's Kansas City blog said they believed Kander's dubious fund-raising tactics were about to catch up to him, in the form of a criminal investigation. (Comments are embedded at the end of this post.) Count our own legal-affairs analyst -- we call him Ozark Mountain Lawyer (OML) -- among the skeptics. States OML:
So today [Kander] announced he's calling it quits and withdrawing from the KC mayoral race. He claims he ended up at a veteran's facility and that he was suicidal.
Yeah, right. He's probably received word that a grand jury in KC may be investigating all of the crimes he and his wife and accomplices have committed over the past several years.
Of course, there's going to be a lot of speculation as to the real reason(s) Kander withdrew. This is especially so, since the KC Star had already published a story, boldly saying that Kander was a shoo-in to be elected mayor.
I think it's again incredibly deceptive for Kander to claim he suffered all kinds of psychic injuries while in the military. As the Kander Memo showed, for almost all of Kander's time in the military reserves, he was state-side doing duty every other weekend. The fact is, Kander was on active duty only for six months total; he spent three of those months in Florida at a military base there, and then only three months total in Afghanistan, as an office clerk for some top brass, safely ensconced in a highly-secure office compound. How much so-called "intelligence" work can you do in only three months? Because Kander was only in Afghanistan for three months, he barely had time to fully unpack his suitcase before he had to repack to go home.
There's a real reason why Kander withdrew from the KC mayoral race, but it's not the reason Kander is telling reporters now.
Kander has been seen as a political up-and-comer, not only in Missouri, but on the national stage. Reports The Kansas City Star:
Kander’s service in the military has been part of his political profile. After one term as Missouri secretary of state, Kander ran in 2016 for U.S. Senate as the Democratic nominee against Republican incumbent Roy Blunt. Kander’s campaign famously featured a television advertisement in which he assembles a military rifle blindfolded.
Kander narrowly lost his contest against Blunt in a year when most Democrats in statewide races were pummeled and Donald Trump carried Missouri by 19 points over Hillary Clinton. Kander’s performance, coupled with an effervescent personality, made him a leading progressive personality on cable television news shows.
Kander was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for Missouri governor, Congress or even for the White House. That’s part of what made his decision to run for mayor all the more surprising.