Generation Z has been pushing for more political power since its first members got here of age in 2015. This 12 months, it has its first opportunity to enter the halls of Congress — and, because the dust clears from a protracted primary season, two candidates are poised to make the most.
Karoline Leavitt won the Republican primary in Recent Hampshire’s First Congressional District on Tuesday, lower than a month after turning 25, the constitutional minimum age to serve within the House. She is an underdog in the overall election, facing a Democratic incumbent, Representative Chris Pappas. However the district is roughly evenly divided between the parties and the race is competitive.
Even when Ms. Leavitt loses in November, the subsequent Congress is virtually guaranteed to incorporate a member of Generation Z: Maxwell Alejandro Frost, also 25, who won the Democratic primary last month for an open House seat in Florida’s solidly blue tenth Congressional District.
Either of them, if elected, could be the youngest sitting member of Congress. If each are elected, the excellence will go to Ms. Leavitt, who’s about seven months younger.
But neither could be the youngest person ever elected to Congress.
That record, unlikely ever to be broken, belongs to William C.C. Claiborne, who was 22 when he was elected to the House from Tennessee in 1797, in accordance with congressional records. (There’s some dispute in other sources about his exact age, but no dispute that he was younger than 25.) The age requirement was no different then: The Structure said House members needed to be not less than 25, and Mr. Claiborne wasn’t. However the House selected to seat Mr. Claiborne anyway.
A handful of 24-year-olds were seated within the 1800s, too, in accordance with congressional records, as were some individuals who turned 25 lower than a month before being sworn in.
In modern times, nevertheless, it’s rare for a 25-year-old to be elected to the House.
Representative Madison Cawthorn, Republican of North Carolina, managed it in 2020; if elected this 12 months, Ms. Leavitt could be lower than a month younger than Mr. Cawthorn was when he was elected. Before Mr. Cawthorn, the last 25-year-old to serve within the House was Thomas Downey, a Recent York Democrat elected in 1974.
Generation Z leans strongly toward Democrats, but its members should not an ideological monolith, as evidenced by the political leanings of Ms. Leavitt and Mr. Frost.
Mr. Frost is a progressive Democrat who supports Medicare for all, abortion rights and stricter gun laws. “I come from a generation that has passed through more mass-shooting drills than fire drills,” he told The Recent York Times in an interview after his primary victory, adding that he believed his generation had “a natural sense of seeing the world through the eyes of probably the most vulnerable.”
Ms. Leavitt, whose campaign didn’t reply to an interview request, is a right-wing Republican who worked as a press aide for former President Donald J. Trump. She supports a “zero tolerance” policy against illegal immigration and opposes abortion and gun control.