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A Bunch of Teens Are Running for Governor of Kansas

Apparently, there's no age requirement for the highest office in the state.

by Drew Schwartz
Feb 9 2018, 9:30pm

Photo by CHRISTOPHER SMITH/AFP/Getty Images.

It's an interesting time to be a teenager in America, an era when fewer and fewer youngsters give a shit about dating, driving, drinking, or doing drugs. Gone are the days of smoking doobs on the playground and TP-ing a neighbor's house—apparently the next hot trend among today's kids is running for local office.

According to the Garden City Telegram, a bunch of teenagers have exposed a major loophole in Kansas and are running to be the state's next governor. Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old Democrat who can't even vote yet, decided to run for the office last summer after realizing that there's no age requirement to do so.

Now five other kids have followed his lead—Aaron Coleman, 17, Joseph Tutera Jr., 16, Tyler Ruzich, 17, Dominic Scavuzzo, 17, and Ethan Randleas, 18, have all announced their bids for the governorship, the New York Times reports. Lucy Steyer, a 17-year-old, is also running for secretary of state.

And the candidates aren't wasting any time: Scavuzzo, a Republican, has already tapped his dad to serve as his campaign treasurer, while Coleman—a high school dropout who's running as an Independent—chose his grandma for the role. Meanwhile, Bergeson managed to make it into a debate with a handful of candidates at least twice his age, and Tutera Jr. (a Republican) is spending Friday at the Kansas Press Association Candidate Forum to get in some face time with the media.

The teens are already facing resistance from all the olds at the Capitol, who are currently debating a bill that would require gubernatorial candidates to be at least 18. Republican representative Blake Carpenter introduced the legislation late last month after he got wind of all the young bucks looking to govern the state, the Telegram reports. But it won't keep them out of the running for 2018—even if the bill passes, it won't take effect until January of next year.

Still, Bergeson thinks closing the governorship to candidates who may or may not be old enough to drive is a bunch of bullshit. In written testimony he filed opposing the bill, he shut down all the graybeards who claim he and his fellow teens are just campaigning as a joke—stressing that it's important to let anyone who wants to run go for it.

"I am not running for governor as a stunt, or a gag,” he wrote. "I am running for governor because of the minimum wage worker that has to work three jobs just to get by. I am running because our education system has been lagging behind other states. I am running to get money out of politics, but most importantly, I am running to get as many people involved in politics as possible."

Just looking at his current opponents, it seems like Bergeson has already made some headway on that last point. And while it might seem like a total long shot for any of the teens to get the gig come November, it's not like complete lack of experience kept an outsider candidate from taking the White House.

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gubernatorial race
jack bergeson