The Buzz

Blunt, Kander pick up firefighter union endorsements Friday

Missouri’s U.S. Senate race was ablaze Friday...

Okay, weak joke. It’s Friday.

But Sen. Roy Blunt and Jason Kander did pick up endorsements from different firefighter organizations Friday.

The Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters endorsed Blunt, the Republican, at a Kansas City news conference Friday afternoon. “The work Roy has done for first responders will continue to have a major impact on our state for years to come,” said a statement from Sherwood Smith, president of the council.

Which is interesting, because Smith was once an important figure in IAFF Local 42, the Kansas City, Mo. firefighters’ union.

And Local 42 endorsed Kander, the Democrat, Friday. “Jason is the next generation of leadership for Missouri and has proven himself time and again to be one of Missouri’s strongest fighters for working Missourians,” said a statement from Local 42 President Bill Galvin.

Kander’s campaign claimed endorsements from four other firefighter unions.

Missourians are accustomed, of course, to interesting endorsements from firefighter unions. In 2008, the state council endorsed U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Republican. Local 42 endorsed Graves that year, too, surprising supporters of Democrat Kay Barnes.

The Missouri State Council is known for endorsing Republicans, unlike many other firefighter locals in the state. It has about 6,000 members, including retirees.

Sometimes the council supports Democrats, like Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster. Of course, Koster was once a Republican.

(UPDATE: Republicans argue the Missouri State Council has endorsed more Democrats than Republicans in recent years, making the endorsement of Blunt significant.)