Kansas lawmakers want to increase the requirements to run for governor in the state after six teenagers and a dog announced their candidacy for November's gubernatorial race.
With a 73-43 vote on Tuesday, the state's House of Representatives passed a bill that would impose certain requirements on candidates running for governor and other key state offices, the Kansas City Star reported.
What are the requirements to run for governor?
“Right now there are more requirements for the people who are sitting in here than there are for our head of state positions,” Republican state Rep. Blake Carpenter, who introduced the bill, said on the House floor.
Believe it or not, Kansas currently has no requirements on who can run for governor. But one of the unspoken rules is that candidates must at least be human.
That’s what a Hutchinson man found out last week when he tried to enter his dog, Angus P. Woolley, age 3, into the governor’s race. The attempt to get the wire-haired vizsla on the ballot was blocked by the state’s director of elections.
“Officially, we will not allow a dog to run for governor,” Bryan Caskey, director of elections for the Kansas secretary of state’s office, told the Star. “There’s several laws that reference that the governor has to be an individual or a person, and so we are relying on that, and if a dog comes in to file for office, we will not allow that.”
The bill requires people to be at least 18 before they can become a candidate, according to the report. Also, it prevents dogs, cats, and inmates from running. The 2018 election would not be impacted.
What has the opposition said?
Jack Bergeson, 17, announced in August that he is running for governor. He called the bill “patronizing and wrong,” according to the report.
Bergeson, a Democrat, told the Star, “They are doing this because they are afraid. Because candidates of an unusual type are running and they are bringing up issues that had not been addressed previously by the political establishment.”
Democratic Rep. Brandon Whipple was one of the lawmakers who opposed the bill.
“There are people who are going out there and using that as a platform to talk to us and to talk to the public about their issues,” Whipple said. “And what we did today is we silenced their voice. And I don’t think that is our job.”
Under the proposed legislation, minors would no longer be able to run for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer and insurance commissioner, the Star reported. Candidates would need to be “qualified electors” in Kansas. The legislation also spells out that every candidate for attorney general must be licensed to practice law in the state.
A proposal to increase age requirement for governor and lieutenant governor from age 18 to 30 failed on the floor, according to the report.