Last July, I sat down for a conversation with Jason Kander at Third Way’s Opportunity 2020 conference in Columbus, Ohio. The Afghan war veteran had recently decided not to run for president, campaigning for Kansas City mayor instead. His decision disappointed many Democrats, but Kander seemed excited about making a political contribution closer to home.

On stage we talked about a variety of things: the importance of entrepreneurship to local development, the triumph of passion in politics, having sons who share similar odd names. Before we finished, Kander gave his views on political courage.

“We have an awful lot of people in politics, who the hardest thing they’ve ever done in their lives is run the campaign that put them into office,” he said. “And when that’s the case, it … feels to them like the worst thing that could ever happen is losing their job, and that tends to be why we don’t have folks who maybe take the risks we need to advance.”

Today, Kander announced that he is dropping out of the Kansas City mayor’s race and pulling back from Let America Vote, his organization focused on fighting voter suppression in America. He revealed that he has been struggling with PTSD and needs to focus on his health.

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