KC mayor’s race could grow more crowded with Kander’s departure

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jason Kander's decision to drop out of the race for Kansas City mayor could actually lead to a more crowded race by the time candidates have to officially file in January 2019.

In a heartfelt personal note, Kander said after 11 years of trying there was something he discovered he couldn't outrun, depression and PTSD symptoms from his tour in Afghanistan. He announced he was dropping out of the race for Kansas City mayor to concentrate on his mental health.

"Everyone would have said he was one of the frontrunners in the race as far as fundraising, as far as name recognition as far as work ethic," public affairs consultant Jason Grill said.

Kander's departure leaves eight candidates for Kansas City mayor, including five already on the City Council: Quinton Lucas, Scott Wagner, Jermaine Reed, Alissia Canady, and Scott Taylor. Rita Berry, Phil Glynn and Steve Miller round out the list of remaining candidates.

Lucas and Canady tweeted about Kander with Lucas saying, "I am proud of Jason for showing us true leadership, as he opens the door for others to speak up and seek out treatment for mental health," and Canady tweeting, "Thank you for shedding spotlight on such an important issue & need for resources."

Councilwoman Jolie JustusĀ dropped out of the race almost as soon as Kander joined it to support the former Missouri Secretary of State. On Tuesday she posted, "I have always been proud to call Jason Kander my friend, but never more so than today. It takes genuine courage to acknowledge, especially publicly, the challenges of mental health."

Commenters on her Facebook post wondered if she'd throw her hat back in the ring.

"I don't think she'd be very far behind because she has such good name recognition has been a public servant for such a long time and obviously was running before Jason got in the race, for someone who is an outsider it might be a little tougher," Grill said.

Kansas City's next mayor will be decided by a primary in April and then the general election in June.