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- Rep. Dan Crenshaw critiqued some of the GOP candidates tapped to run for office in 2022.
- “We elected two 25-year-olds to be our nominees. That’s batshit crazy,” Crenshaw told Politico.
- GOP voters nominated Karoline Leavitt, 25, and Bo Hines, 27, in two key House districts. Both lost.
In the 2022 midterms, Gen Z and younger Millennial voters were eager to flex their political muscle, overwhelmingly pushing for issues that included college affordability, reproductive rights, and climate issues.
Several young Americans even decided to run for federal office themselves, including Democratic Rep.-elect Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a 25-year-old Floridian who last month became the first member of Gen Z elected to Congress.
However, in a recent Politico interview, GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas said that his party erred in nominating younger candidates in two of the most competitive House districts in the country.
“We lost races we easily should have won. We elected two 25-year-olds to be our nominees. That’s batshit crazy,” the 38-year-old congressman told the publication of two young Republicans who won primaries to serve as their party’s nominees.
He added: “I’m sure they’re nice people, but they have two years work experience at most. So in a general election, people are like, ‘No, we’re not electing that.'”
In New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional district, Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas defeated 25-year-old former Trump White House assistant press secretary Karoline Leavitt 54%-46%.
And in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional district, state Sen. Wiley Nickel edged out 27-year-old Republican Bo Hines by four points (52%-48%).
While Crenshaw pointed to the ages of the candidates in remarking on some of losses endured by the party in a year where they had anticipated more robust congressional gains, there is no clear evidence that the Leavitt or Hines were defeated in their respective contests because of their youthfulness.
With Congress largely populated by lawmakers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, and with leaders like President Joe Biden and departing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California in their 80s, there has been a pent-up desire for many young Americans to take a seat at the table in crafting public policy — but they are often discouraged by a lack of money or lack of support from political parties.
This year, Insider has examined the phenomenon of an American gerontocracy in the “Red, White, and Gray” series, which included an article about young candidates who sought to run for office but ran into institutional barriers during their respective campaigns.
Republicans were able to flip the House this year, but their slim majority only raises the stakes for the 2024 presidential election — when Gen Z voters will continue to become a more influential part of the electorate.