Gen Z Runs for Office
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Gen Z Runs for Office

Since the 2020 election, more than eight million young Americans have become eligible to vote. The oldest members of “Generation Z”–those born between 1997 and 2012–are now eligible to run for office in the House of Representatives. (The U.S. Constitution sets the minimum age for a Representative at 25 years old.)  Here, Election Central takes a closer look at two of the candidates competing to become the first-ever Gen Z members of Congress: Democrat Maxwell Frost, and Republican Karoline Leavitt. 

Maxwell Frost 

Frost, 25, is a Democrat from Florida. He is running in the 10th Congressional District. He is a gun violence prevention activist and community organizer. Frost formerly served as the national organizing director for March For Our Lives, a gun violence prevention organization, and as a field manager with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). He also supports the Black Lives Matter movement, wants to expand Medicare to a larger number of citizens, and is in favor of cancelling student debt. Frost is running for an open seat currently held by Democrat Val Demings. She is vacating her seat to run for the U.S. Senate. Frost won Florida’s Democratic primary last month with about 35 percent of the vote. He was the first Gen Z candidate ever to win a congressional primary. Because his district leans heavily Democratic, it is likely that Frost will win the general election in November and be elected to Congress. 

Karoline Leavitt 

Leavitt, 25, is a Republican from New Hampshire. She is running against incumbent Democrat Chris Pappas. Leavitt hopes to bring new, younger voters into the Republican Party. She believes in protecting the Second Amendment and supporting law enforcement, small businesses, and strict immigration laws. She also wants to lower taxes and limit government regulation. Leavitt formerly worked as an assistant press secretary in the Trump White House, and as an aide to New York Rep. Elise Stefanik. Stefanik was formerly the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Leavitt plans to reach young voters by travelling to college campuses to hold in-person town halls. She has been an open supporter of former president Trump. Leavitt defeated several competitors to win her primary on September 13, 2022, with 34 percent of the vote. 

What Are Gen Z Voters Like? 

Gen Z voters are more racially and ethnically diverse than older generations of United States’ voters. They also hold a wide range of political views. Young voters express strong concerns about the future of American democracy and values. According to recent 2022 research published by Tufts University, Gen Z voters interested in seeking elected office increased in the last ten years. More than twenty percent of young voters aged 18-25 say they would consider running for office. But they face financial and experience challenges to follow through on these political goals. Both Leavitt and Frost are trying to reach out to and engage their peers to increase their political involvement. 

What Do You Think? What political issues are most important to young people? Ask your classmates and compile their answers. Then you can display your findings in a table or a chart.