Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat who fueled speculation with his frequent visits to early presidential contest states, announced Monday he’s running for mayor of Kansas City next year.
The move seemingly takes Kander, considered an up-and-comer in his party, out of what is shaping up to be a crowded field of potential challengers to President Donald Trump in 2020.
“The next mayor has the opportunity to shape the future of Kansas City for generations,” Kander said in a statement. “I’m running because I am up for that challenge.”
Kander, 37, lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2016 but has remained visible nationally, leading an organization called Let America Vote and making trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and other key states in the presidential nominating process.
During a trip to Iowa in April, Kander told reporters he was considering a 2020 presidential run and would make a decision after this year’s midterm elections.
The month before, he spoke at the Linn County Democratic Convention at the Kirkwood Community College regional center in Hiawatha.
The election for mayor of Kansas City is in June 2019, long after Democratic candidates for president will start ramping up their 2020 campaigns.
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Kander, who represented the Kansas City area in the state legislature, said he wants “to tackle problems that aren’t talked about enough, like the fact that too many streets in Kansas City aren’t well lit and are therefore less safe, and that too many residents don’t have convenient access to grocery stores, banks and other basic services.”