6 Teens Are Running for Governor in Kansas

State lawmakers are trying to pass law with age restrictions, but it wouldn't affect these candidates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2018 10:35 AM CST
6 Teens Are Running for Governor in Kansas
There's no place like home for the six teens running for governor in Kansas.   (Getty Images/wellesenterprises)

Most teenagers spend their free time playing video games or hanging out with friends. In Kansas, they run for governor. Last September there were two teens (Tyler Ruzich and Jack Bergeson) who'd announced they were vying for the state's top seat, and now four more—Aaron Coleman, Ethan Randleas, Dominic Scavuzzo, and Joseph Tutera Jr.—have joined their ranks. The New York Times reports on the six, ranging in age from 16 to 18, gunning for the $99,636-a-year post. The influx of minors into the race is a result of the state's rules not imposing any age restrictions, which has led local lawmakers to lobby for an age mandate to avoid in the future what the Times deems "a carnival-like note." Specifically, a state House bill is in motion to require all candidates to have been residents in Kansas for at least four consecutive years, and to be of voting age in Kansas.

"As soon as they turn 18, if they want to run for the legislature, knock yourself out," bill sponsor Rep. Blake Carpenter says. The Kansas City Star notes all six of the teens were under 18 when they announced their candidacy, and they're expressing different reactions to Carpenter's bill. "I think it's trying to disenfranchise candidates," says Bergeson, 17. Ruzich, who will turn 18 a month or so before 2018's Election Day, calls the bill a "common-sense proposal." In the case of these teens, though, even if the bill goes through, it wouldn't become law until January—meaning if any of them win in November, they'd become the new governor. Not that hopes are especially high that will happen, at least for one candidate. "The day a 17-year-old wins governor of any state will be the day pigs fly," the 16-year-old Tutera says. "[But] hey, we're here, we've got ideas." (Read more Kansas stories.)

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