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These 20-Somethings Could Be Elected To Congress

It’s clear that Congress will be full of plenty of fresh faces next year, but some of them may be fresher than others.

As CNN reported, for the first time, millennials will constitute a plurality of the voting-eligible population in 2018, and they may be poised to turn out at unusually high levels. And on the other side of the voting equation, many are running for office — some who are just a little older than 25, the minimum age to be a U.S. representative. So I tried to track down as many candidates under 30 years old running for the House as possible. Finding someone’s exact age can be tricky, so I’m sure we missed people (if so, let me know and we’ll update this list!), but here are 13 candidates under 30 years old who will appear on the ballot this fall.1 According to our forecasts, only a few have any real shot at making it to Congress:

Some of the House’s youngest candidates and their chances

Age on Election Day of the 2018 House candidates under 30 and their chances of winning according to FiveThirtyEight’s “Classic” 2018 House forecast as of Oct. 17

Candidate Party District Age on Election Day Chance of Winning
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D NY-14 29.1 years >99.9%
Abby Finkenauer D IA-1 29.9 96.7
Ammar Campa-Najjar D CA-50 29.7 15.8
Ryan Watts D NC-6 28.7 15.7
Jeramey Anderson D MS-4 26.9 0.8
Mallory Hagan D AL-3 29.9 0.2
Ian Todd D MN-6 28.2 0.2
Lee Auman D AL-4 25.9 <0.1
Joshua Scott R CA-32 25.6 <0.1
Morgan Murtaugh R CA-53 26.2 <0.1
Omar Navarro R CA-43 29.8 <0.1
Thomas Oh R VA-8 26.7 <0.1
Anya Tynio R VT-AL 25* <0.1

* We couldn’t confirm Anya Tynio’s exact age, but as of September 2018, she was 25 years old.

Sources: Ballotpedia, Inside Elections, Mississippi House of Representatives, social media, news reports


Of these 13, five are women, and eight are men. Four of the candidates identify as Hispanic — including 29-year-old Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running in the California 50th and is both Mexican- and Palestinian-American. Thomas Oh, the Republican candidate in the Virginia 8th, is Korean-American. And Jeramey Anderson, running in the Mississippi 4th, already earned the distinction of being the youngest African-American ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S. But the candidates are less diverse in one important aspect: Only five of the 13 are Republicans.

But these candidates can only change the face of government if they win — and, impressively, two of them are very likely to do so. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already did the hard part: Her defeat of incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for the solidly blue New York 14th District virtually guaranteed her a seat in Congress. And Democrat Abby Finkenauer is giving Republican Rep. Rod Blum the fight of his life in the Iowa 1st District, an Obama-Trump seat that appears to be moving back toward Democrats so decisively that national Republicans have all but given up on the race. Not only would Ocasio-Cortez and Finkenauer be the new youngest members of Congress (the current champ is 34-year-old Republican Elise Stefanik), but they’d also be the youngest women ever elected to the House of Representatives.

As for the other millennials, their odds drop off from there. Campa-Najjar and Ryan Watts have roughly a 1 in 6 chance of winning, and the other nine candidates have even worse odds — less than a one percent chance.

UPDATE (Oct. 19, 2018 5:55 p.m.): This article has been updated with four new candidates under age 30: Thomas Oh, Ian Todd, Anya Tynio and Ryan Watts. Thanks to the readers who pointed them out!


  1. I’m only looking at candidates from one of the two major parties.

Nathaniel Rakich is a senior editor and senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight.


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