Potential 2020 presidential candidate Jason Kander is hiring an Iowa-based communications director as his national organization staffs up.
Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state and failed 2016 Senate candidate who has become an unlikely national Democratic figure, is bringing on Jason Noble, who on Friday announced he was leaving his job as political reporter for the Des Moines Register.
Noble will direct national communications strategy for Kander’s Let America Vote, which is dedicated to pushing back on voting restrictions on the state level, and for Kander himself. He will start work next week for Kander’s Let America Vote group from the organization’s offices in Des Moines.
The move comes as prospective Democratic presidential candidates begin to staff up ahead of the 2020 primary, slotting campaign veterans into positions on official office, reelection and advocacy group payrolls. Noble’s job will include speechwriting for Kander.
Noble’s hiring offers Kander, 36, an inroad to the most prominent daily newspaper in Iowa, while adding to his already significant footprint in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Though a national group, Let America Vote’s executive director, Abe Rakov, and press secretary Austin Laufersweiler are based in Des Moines.
Kander, who has held no office higher than Missouri secretary of state, is among a large tier of lesser-known Democrats stoking speculation about a 2020 campaign. Kander drew national attention from fellow Democrats in his failed bid for Senate in 2016, which included a viral video in which he assembled an AR-15 rifle blindfolded while defending his support for background checks. Following his loss to incumbent Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Kander has traveled aggressively throughout the country, including frequent visits to New Hampshire and Iowa. He is scheduled to keynote a major New Hampshire Democratic Party dinner in Nashua on April 14.
Kander has demurred when asked about his ambition for higher office. Noble, who covered Kander in Missouri while working previously at The Kansas City Star, said the prospect of a presidential campaign is “not sort of top of mind for me.”
Noble, in an interview, said he’s joining Let America Vote because I believe in its mission,” describing the group’s efforts as “really important work for our political system and for our democracy right now.”
In a prepared statement, Kander called Noble “one of the most talented political reporters in the country,” adding, “Jason’s experience covering politics in states where voting rights are under attack gives him a deep understanding of the issue and the stakes for American voters. I’m excited to have him on board.”