A famous governor many years ago suggested that his state legislature not bother meeting because, he felt, there were already enough laws.
Walter Hickel was talking about Alaska because that clearly would never apply to Kansas. It seems the Sunflower State has no law setting requirements to run for governor. Anyone even, say, a teenager, can seek to succeed the term-limited Gov. Sam Brownback next year.
And so, as of now, three Kansas teenagers have announced their candidacy to head the government of the nation’s 34th largest state by area and population.
There’s Ethan Randleas of Wichita. He’s 17. There’s Tyler Ruzich of Shawnee Mission. He’s 17, too. And there’s Jack Bergeson, also of Wichita. He’s the kid at 16.
“Under Kansas law,” said Brian Caskey, “there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one. So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”
Caskey should know. He’s the state’s director of elections.
Randleas is running as a Republican, although he calls himself a conservatarian. “We just had a president win on the campaign promise of draining the swamp,” Randleas says. “And if you really want to drain the swamp, you know, you get the complete outsider and that’s what I am.”
Ruzich will compete with Randleas for the GOP nod. Bergeson wants the Democrat nomination for the Nov. 6, 2018, elections.
Not surprisingly, perhaps, there are also several adults who think they’re qualified to become the 47th governor since Kansas achieved statehood in 1861, just two months before the Civil War began. So far, six others have announced candidacies including Josh Svaty, a farmer, and Carl Brewer, a former mayor.
Good luck to those two Democrats since Kansas, the home of Dwight Eisenhower, is so GOP it has not awarded its six electoral votes to a Democrat in 19,353 days. That was 1964, the year the Beatles visited the U.S. and the Surgeon General suggested that cigarette smoking just might be hazardous to your health.
Last year, Kansas was one of 30 states that went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. In Kansas, it was 57% to 36%.
Among Republican candidates challenging teens Randleas and Ruzich is Kris Kobach, past president of the Kansas Republican Party and Kansas Secretary of State since 2011.
Of course, it’s ridiculous to think that an outsider yet to qualify for senior prom has a chance of legally becoming governor of Kansas. But then, a year ago today, no one thought outsider Trump had a real chance either.