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.