The Buzz

TheChat: Harry Reid talks up Jason Kander


Good morning.

▪ “I love all five of them — but the man that was stunning in his approach and in his speech was Jason Kander. That guy is good.” — Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid talking about the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri.

Kander is getting rave reviews these days as he mounts his upstart campaign against Republican incumbent Roy Blunt. Republicans groups are already spending money in Missouri to support Blunt, a sign, Kander says, that he’s making progress. (link via

▪ “We think it has a good shot.” — John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis, a marijuana advocacy organization, on prospects for a medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2016.

Missouri is regarded as a tough sell. But growing momentum behind marijuana in general, combined with a heavy turnout presidential election year, has supporters like Payne excited.

▪ “I’m a pro-life Catholic, and I believe that if you’re going to be pro-life, you should be pro-life on both ends of the spectrum.” — Missouri state Sen. Paul Wieland, an Imperial Republican, on his plans to push for abolishment of the death penalty again this session.

Wieland also believes that it’s ultimately more costly to put people to death because of endless legal appeals. The prospects for death penalty abolishment this year: not high. But the fact that Wieland is a Republican is significant and shows the growing momentum behind this issue.

▪ “We’re looking at needing to put some significant money into this. We really see a looming catastrophe.” — Kansas state Sen. Forrest Knox, an Altoona Republican, speaking about the need to bolster the pay of prison guards around the state.

Check out these stats: The turnover rate for uniformed officers in adult prisons was 29.7 percent during the fiscal year ending in June. The turnover rate among officers at the state’s two juvenile correctional centers exceeded 35 percent, and it was 38 percent at the state’s maximum-security prison outside El Dorado.