A 16-Year-Old Is Running for Governor in Kansas

Jack Bergeson is hoping to win Kansas' top spot in 2018
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2017 8:47 AM CDT

Jack Bergeson won't be able to vote for himself when he appears on the Kansas ballot for governor in 2018—because he won't be 18 yet. As the director of elections with Kansas' secretary of state's office explains to the Wall Street Journal, the Sunflower State is one of three states with loose rules on gubernatorial runs. "No age [restriction]. No residency. No citizenship. The law is silent," Bryan Caskey says. When the 16-year-old Bergeson, a junior on his school's football team who works for his family's restaurant in Wichita, found that out, he thought, "Oh, I could do that," per the Kansas City Star. Bergeson, who counts Bernie Sanders among his political idols, says he's vying for the Democratic nomination on an "anti-establishment" platform and has picked as his running mate 17-year-old Alexander Cline, a pal since seventh grade who wants to be the state's lieutenant governor.

Bergeson, who was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel this week about his run, says people often mentioned he should run for office when he was older, but "what is the point in waiting to try to help your homeland," notes his campaign website. There you'll find his platform priorities of health care overhaul, raising the state's minimum wage, and the "most important issue": campaign finance and corruption, with his campaign stating it won't accept donations of more than $500 from an individual or entity; he has raised about $2,200 to date. "We believe that with a governor truly elected by the people, not the corporate interests, Kansas can get back on track," the site notes. In his interview, Kimmel asked the question that might be on most teen boys' minds: if any of the girls at school could possibly be his first lady. "You know, I haven't thought about that yet," Bergeson replied. (More Kansas stories.)

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