The all-male roster of prospective candidates for state offices in 2018 is ending, and the youth movement in politics is spreading.
Twenty-six males have geared up to run for a state office in 2018 by filing campaign finance documents with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. On Tuesday, high school senior Lucy Steyer, 17, Lenexa, named her father, John Steyer, as campaign treasurer for her potential race for secretary of state.
Steyer is the sixth Kansas teen taking advantage of the absence of an age requirement for most state offices. The five other youths are running for governor.
Steyer attends Notre Dame De Sion High School in Kansas City, Missouri. She was in contact with the first teen to launch a run for governor – high school junior Jack Bergeson, D-Wichita – before she took her step. Steyer also is a Democrat.
“I’m most definitely excited to be a part of the movement to engage young voters and to encourage political involvement among all ages,” Steyer wrote in an email to The News.
The actual candidate filing deadline is June 1, 2018. Steyer left the door open to reconsider her candidacy before the deadline.
“I think I’m going to run,” she said. She said she could offer a fresh outlook due to her age.
The teens running for governor helped influence her decision to focus on the secretary of state race. Three Republicans, all officeholders, are running campaigns to succeed Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vying for governor in 2018.
“I don’t personally know the other candidates, but we have been corresponding," Steyer wrote. "I ran for Secretary of State instead of governor because all of us teenagers running agreed we wanted to bring attention to all the elections.”
Bryan Caskey, state director of elections in Kobach’s office, said the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer do not require a candidate to be old enough – age 18 – to be a registered voter.
State insurance commissioner presents the highest hurdle for a teen candidate. The commissioner must be a registered voter and “well versed and experienced in the business of insurance.”
As of Wednesday, 20 people have filed papers with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission to run for governor in 2018. Attorney Gen. Derek Schmidt and State Treasurer Jacob LaTurner are poised to seek to continued roles. Clark Shultz, number two in the Kansas Insurance Department, is the lone candidate in that race. Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer is running for governor.
After the governor’s race, the next livelier state race is for secretary of state. Reps. Scott Schwab and Keith Esau, both from Olathe, and Sedgwick County Clerk Kelly Arnold are pursuing the office.
Five teens running for governor
Five teens have set up campaign accounts for a 2018 bid for Kansas governor. Here’s the roster for the high school students seeking that office:
Junior Jack Bergeson, D-Wichita
Junior Tyler Ruzich, R-Prairie Village
Senior Ethan Randleas, R-Wichita
Senior Dominic Scavuzzo, R-Leawood
Sophomore Joseph Tutera Jr., R-Mission Hills.