Jason Kander: Using Provocative Advertising To Bolster Senate Candidacy

Jason Kander, Missouri’s current Secretary of State, has boosted his chance of unseating incumbent Republican Roy Blunt with a powerful new ad on gun control. The ad has raised eyebrows and Kander’s national profile; a win would make him the youngest serving Senator.

The ad “Background Checks,” released within the past few days, shows Kander, a former Army captain, assembling an AR-15 assault rifle while blindfolded. While doing so, his covered eyes remain fixed to the camera, showing his utter confidence sporting the high-powered weapon.

“Senator Blunt has been attacking me on guns,” explains Kander, as he begins to assemble the rifle. Amid the sounds of the rifle parts clicking into place, Kander continues: “In the Army, I learned how to use and respect my rifle. I also believe in background checks, so that terrorists can’t get their hands on one of these.”



Kander concludes the ad taking off his blindfold: “I approve this message because I’d like to see Senator Blunt do this.”

The powerful ad highlights a couple of important points.

Foremost is the erroneous claim that Democrats who fight for stronger gun control laws are somehow averse to the Second Amendment. Gun control policies have no intention of eliminating a citizen’s right to own a firearm. Kander’s use of a gun in a campaign ad makes that point loud and clear.

Many Republican candidates play on the support for lax gun regulations by firing weapons in campaign ads. Very rarely do they show the kind of comfort with guns that Kander does in “Background Checks.” He powerfully puts to rest the idea that gun control activists are inherently afraid of, or less knowledgeable about, firearms.

The question still remains as to whether this will significantly move any voters. Missouri is a solidly red state, and a statewide gun regulation bill was just defeated. Nevertheless, early indications are that Kander is rising in the polls.

The most recent poll, conducted from September 9-13, has Kander up 2 points on Sen. Blunt, whereas the poll prior to that had Blunt with a 7 point lead.

Trump retains a strong lead over Clinton in Missouri, with FiveThirtyEight giving Trump a 91.7% chance of taking the state. A Kander win would not only give Missouri two Democratic Senators, but a likely example of split ticket voting.

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