A 17-year-old Rockhurst High School student from Leawood has become the fourth teenager running for governor in Kansas, entering an already crowded field of nearly 20 candidates.
Dominic Scavuzzo, who appointed his father as his campaign treasurer, says the race is a “good opportunity” to gain experience.
Kansas doesn’t set any qualifications to run for governor. Scavuzzo is a Republican, as are fellow teen candidates Tyler Ruzich of Prairie Village and Ethan Randleas of Wichita. Jack Bergeson of Wichita is a Democrat.
Friends University political science professor Russell Fox said the teens won’t have the money or name recognition to run effective campaigns.
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“These kids are doing it for a stunt, and they admit they’re doing it for a stunt,” Fox said, while acknowledging some people probably will vote for a teen, “but most won’t.”
House Majority Leader Don Hineman, a Dighton Republican, said he thinks it’s time for lawmakers to look at setting an age requirement for candidates.
“In general, as someone who is of a rather advanced age, I see value in having life experience before one gets involved in politics,” said the 70-year-old Hineman.
As for the young candidates, he said, “Maybe they ought to run for student council instead.”
Eighteen candidates have established campaign accounts for the 2018 contest, although the filing deadline for Democratic and Republican contenders isn’t until June 1. Without circulating petitions, a candidate pays $2,207 to file a governor/lieutenant governor team. A candidate who gathers 5,000 signatures pays $670.
Listen: Deep Background podcast
Katy Bergen and Hunter Woodall of The Kansas City Star join Dave Helling to talk about how the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state’s new school finance system is unconstitutional. This week's episode also includes some discussion on the Kansas governor's race, including a clip with Tyler Ruzich, who is one of the teenage candidates in the running.
Listen to past episodes here or subscribe on your favorite podcasting app.