Teens Running for Top Statewide Office

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February 4, 2018

The Kansas House Elections Committee is pondering an age requirement for candidates for statewide office, after reports that seven teenagers are running for governor and secretary of state.

The state of Kansas has no minimum age for candidates for governor. Kansas is one of two states with no such minimum; Vermont is the other. Kansas also has no minimum age requirement for candidates running for lieutenant governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. Candidates running for Kansas's Upper House and Lower House must be 18.

The plan before the Kansas House Elections Committee would also require candidates for the state's top two jobs, governor and lieutenant governor, to live in the state for four years before seeking office.

The changes, if they are approved, would not take place in time to affect races in this year's elections.

Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old from Wichita, is running for governor of Kansas. His announced candidacy spurred a relative run on teenage candidates, and now six teens in total are running for governor:

  • Aaron Coleman, 17, of Overland Park
  • Ethan Randleas, 18, of Wichita
  • Tyler Ruzich, 17, of Prairie Village
  • Dominci Scavuzzo, 17, of Leawood
  • Joseph Tutera, 16, of Mission Hills.

Another teen, Lucy Steyer, 17, of Lenexa, is running for secretary of state.


Bergeson

Coleman

Randleas

Ruzich

Scavuzzo

Steyer

Tutera

Sonneborn

A lack of a minumum age requirement is relatively uncommon across the United States. For all states that do have such a requirement, the lowest minimum age is 18 and the highest minimum age is 30.

Connecticut and Vermont have no minimum age requirements for their state legislatures; Vermont has no minimum age requirement for any of its top statewide offices.

A Vermont 13-year-old, Ethan Sonneborn of Bristol, is running for governor of his state.

Four states list 18 as the minimum age for running for all of their top statewide offices: California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Ohio is nearly in that category, with all but lieutenant governor having 18 as the minimum age and that category having no minimum age.

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David White