If you ever thought to yourself that politics is “child’s play,” then the Kansas governor’s race is right up your alley. The Kansas Constitution is very unclear about who may or may not run for the state’s highest office. And thanks to that ambiguity, three local teenagers are throwing their hats in the political ring.
The lack of standards for gubernatorial candidates hit the spotlight in Wichita back in August. That is when 16-year-old high school student, Jack Bergeron, declared he was running for the position as a Democrat. Joining Bergeron on the ballot is Shawnee Mission North student Tyler Ruzich. He turned 17 in late September.
In addition, besides Bergeron and Ruzich, 17-year-old Ethan Randleas is vying for the top job. Randleas considers himself to be “conservatarian,” a mix of conservative and libertarian. Echoing the sentiments of President Trump during his campaign, he happily declares that he is an “outsider.”
“We just had a president win on the campaign promise of draining the swamp,” says Randleas. “And if you really want to drain the swamp, you know, you get the complete outsiders and that’s what I am.” He says he supports gun rights and doesn’t support the government intruding on matters that do not involve “protecting life, liberty, and property.”
A Flawed System
Nevertheless, Randleas believes election laws should be clearer. Kansas Director of Elections, Bryan Caskey, agrees there are problems. “Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” Caskey says. “There’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”
Interestingly, while the state has no rules the cover who can run for office, they have some strict laws for voters. Residents who want to vote, must show proof of citizenship and provide valid photo identification. The law was put in place in 2011 by Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is also running for governor.
Director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, Mark Skoglund, is following the boys’ campaigns and offering them advice. “Candidates are required to appoint a treasurer before receiving funds,” Skoglund said. “And I want to make it clear that this is not in reference to any particular situation. I’m just talking about the application of the law.”
There has been no word as to whether Dorothy and Toto will be joining the race.