By John Celock
Kentucky’s control over the youngest statewide elected officials in the country is coming to an end, as a new crop of young officials prepares to take office.
Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 30, already the nation’s youngest statewide official has now won election to the office, taking over as the nation’s youngest statewide elected official from Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 35, who has held the title since his 2015 election. Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Kathy Hoffman (D), 32, will be the nation’s youngest woman in statewide elective office, a title she is taking over from Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball (R), 37, who has held it since her 2015 election. Hoffman will be the third youngest statewide elected official in the country.
Wisconsin Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes (D), 32, will be the nation’s second youngest statewide elected official after LaTurner, while newly appointed Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick (R), being the nation’s second youngest statewide official. Fitzpatrick, the state House budget committee chairman, was appointed Wednesday by Gov. Mike Parson (R) to fill an unexpired term. Fitzpatrick will face voters for the first time in 2020. Barnes was elected to the lieutenant governor’s office earlier this year on a ticket with Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D), after easily winning the Democratic primary to join Evers on the gubernatorial ticket.
Quarles will be the fourth youngest statewide elected official in the nation and the fifth youngest statewide official overall. Mississippi Auditor Shad White (R), 33, was appointed to the office earlier this year by Gov. Phil Bryant (R) and will face voters for the first-time next year.
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D), 36, who won her first election to the office this year, following a 2015 appointment by then Gov. Jay Nixon (D), will be the second youngest female statewide elected official in the country. Galloway had been the youngest female statewide official in the country with Ball being the youngest female elected to statewide office.
The list of statewide officials in the country under 40 grows to 26 in 2019 as 11 new officials were elected in this year’s election, along with Fitzpatrick taking office as an appointee.
Wisconsin and North Dakota will each have the most statewide elected officials under the age of 40 next year. In Wisconsin three out of six state constitutional will be under 40 with Barnes being joined by Treasurer-elect Sarah Godlewski (D), 37, and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul (D), 38, were elected this year to their posts. In North Dakota, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R), Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfried (R), 36 and Auditor Josh Gallion (R), 39, continuing in their offices.
Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky will all have two statewide officials under the age of 40.
LaTurner, a former state senator, was first appointed to the treasurer’s office in April 2017 by then Gov. Sam Brownback (R) following the resignation of Republican Ron Estes, who had been elected to Congress. LaTurner was elected to his first full term as treasurer this year, defeating Democratic state Sen. Marci Francisco.
Hoffman, a speech therapist, jumped into the race to lead Arizona’s public schools following statewide debate over school finance. Hoffman narrowly defeated Republican former California U.S. Rep. Frank Riggs, becoming the first Democrat to hold the superintendent’s job since 1995.
Barnes, a former state assemblyman, easily won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in the spring primary, teaming up with Evers on the general election ticket, where the pair defeated Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R).
Fitzpatrick, a three-term state legislator, was appointed by Parson Wednesday to fill a vacancy in the state treasurer’s office. Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R) is leaving the office after being appointed state attorney general to fill a vacancy caused by the departure of U.S. Sen.-elect Josh Hawley (R) from the attorney general’s office. Hawley, 39, will be the nation’s youngest senator. Fitzpatrick will complete the remaining two years on Schmitt’s term.
The 2018 election saw three twentysomethings seek statewide office, along with a handful of teenagers who ran for governor in primary elections in Kansas and Vermont. Among the twentysomething candidates, Republican Jonathan Gelbert lost the primary for Arizona superintendent and Democratic state Rep. Aaron Regenburg lost the primary for Rhode Island lieutenant governor. Democrat Kylie Overson lost the general election for North Dakota tax commissioner to Rauschenberger.
Statewide Officials Under 40
Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner (R), 30
Missouri Treasurer-designate Scott Fitzpatrick (R), 31 (Appointed)
Wisconsin Lt. Gov.-elect Mandela Barnes (D), 32
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Kathy Hoffman (D), 32
Mississippi Auditor Shad White (R), 33 (Appointed)
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles (R), 35
North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson (R), 35
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger (R), 35
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner (D), 35
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway (D), 36
Michigan Lt. Gov.-elect Garlin Gilchrist (D), 36
Iowa Auditor-elect Rob Sand (D), 36
Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg (R), 36
Nebraska Treasurer-elect John Murante (R), 36
North Dakota Tax Commissioner Jon Godfried (R), 36
West Virginia Auditor J.B. McCluskey (R), 36
Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball (R), 37
Nevada Treasurer-elect Zach Conine (D), 37
Wisconsin Treasurer-elect Sarah Godlewski (D), 37
Alabama Lt. Gov.-elect Will Ainsworth (R), 37
Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D), 37
South Dakota Treasurer-elect Josh Haeder (R), 38
Delaware Treasurer-elect Colleen Davis (D), 38
Wisconsin Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul (D), 38
North Dakota Auditor Josh Gallion (R), 39
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), 39