WASHINGTON ― Democrat Jason Kander conceded to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in Tuesday’s election for Missouri Senate, signaling a victory for an incumbent Republican in a historically red state.
“You’ve got to pick yourself up. That’s what I’m going to do,” Kander told his supporters Tuesday night.
Blunt’s victory is a striking win for a Washington insider in a national election where Donald Trump shocked the world with his anti-establishment bid for the presidency.
In a statement early on Wednesday, Blunt congratulated Trump for his victory and said he looked forward “to working with him to repeal Obamacare, rein in excessive regulations, unlock more American energy, and strengthen our position at home and abroad.”
Kander, a 35-year-old Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, received national attention for a TV ad on gun control in which he assembled a rifle while blindfolded. “I’d like to see Sen. Blunt do this,” he said in the ad, in which he said he supported expanded background checks.
Kander has served as Missouri’s secretary of state since 2012. He campaigned partly on his status as a political outsider, drawing a sharp contrast with Blunt. The 66-year-old Republican has served in Congress since 1997 and in the Senate since 2011.
“After 20 years there, Sen. Blunt has changed,” Kander told the Post-Dispatch this week. “He no longer believes what he used to believe.”
Ahead of the election, polls in Missouri showed a surprisingly tight race between Kander and Blunt, considering Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s big advantage in the state. Blunt’s seat is one of several that Republicans are defending in hopes of keeping control of the U.S. Senate.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) campaigned for Kander last month, blasting Blunt as a defender of Wall Street and big corporations.