Kansas should consider an age requirement for the governorship, according to the state’s top election official who is also a candidate for governor.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kris Kobach said that he does not feel strongly about the issue, but that he would support it if the Legislature moved to enact a minimum age requirement to run for governor.
The state, which is one a handful in the nation without an age requirement, has gained international attention in recent weeks after two high school students have launched campaigns for governor.
“I think it’s both amusing and encouraging that high school students are throwing their name into the governor’s race, but it is appropriate to have minimum ages for the governor’s office,” said Kobach, who noted that most states have a minimum age.
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Missouri, for example, requires the governor to be at least 30-years-old.
“I don’t consider it a burning issue, but it’s worth doing if it becomes a consistent thing where people who are very, very young are applying,” Kobach said.
Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old high school student from Wichita, kicked off a campaign for the Democratic nomination last month. Bergeson was profiled in The Wall Street Journal and appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
And then this week, Tyler Ruzich, a Shawnee Mission North student who turns 17 this month, began a campaign for the Republican nomination after receiving encouragement from Bergeson.
“I think a lot of people would roll their eyes or raise their eyebrows at it. ... But I’m here to win,” Ruzich said.
Ruzich will face off against Kobach and other prominent Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, in the race for the GOP nomination.