Granderson: Herschel Walker’s candidacy is more interesting now that Senate control is decided
When the polls were closed on Tuesday, Barack Obama had a lead in Missouri, a state that the president won during the 2008 presidential campaign and where Mitt Romney was locked in a deadlocked race. The contest now looks more like an epic struggle between two political dynasties.
Herschel G. Walker, who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate this year and will run for Congress from the 16th Congressional District in south-central Missouri next year, is being challenged by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a two-term senator with a record of being a staunch Obama supporter.
It’s a battle between the heirs to the state’s two most prominent political families as well as a battle over local issues. Walker, the winner of the 2010 U.S. Senate election, has largely avoided directly commenting about how he plans to run his campaign. But Kander, a two-term senator up for re-election, has said he plans to turn out supporters who will back Walker on the basis of his bipartisan credentials.
To be sure, this race is as much about local issues as it is about who is the most qualified to win a statewide race. It is also a test of the viability of the Missouri Democratic Party, which has taken many of the most important statewide offices in the last decade.
The Democratic Party now finds itself in the national spotlight after losing nearly 60 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in the November elections. Democrats will face off against Republicans and a broad ideological coalition in the 2016 elections.
Walker, a well-respected figure in Missouri politics who would be the first African-American to represent the 16th District in Congress, is being challenged for his seat by Kander, who is seen as a loyal former colleague and now a potential threat if the Democratic Party continues its long slide in national politics. Kander has not yet endorsed a candidate, though his political action committee has spent tens of thousands of dollars promoting the GOP contender.
Kander has represented Missouri in the upper chamber since 2003, where he had a reputation as a party loyalist. He narrowly lost his Senate bid in a primary earlier this year