The current youngest generation may soon elect more of its members to the United States Congress.
According to The Hill, several more members of Generation Z, also known as “Zoomers,” are attempting to expand their ranks in Congress after the first Zoomer was elected in 2022. The age group, the next in line after Millennials, is generally considered to start with those born in 1997 or later. Currently, the sole Zoomer in Congress is Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), who was elected in 2022 at the age of 25.
Two more Zoomers, both running as Democrats, are candidates for the House of Representatives in California and Maryland this November. Cheyenne Hunt, 26, is an attorney running in California’s 45th district. The seat, located in Orange County, was historically Republican before flipping blue in 2018, then being retaken by Republicans in 2022 after redistricting. Prior to 2022, the incumbent was progressive Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who is now running for the United States Senate; the current incumbent is Republican Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), who won by roughly 5%.
“Young people, as we’ve gotten more and more involved, are frankly devastated that this is the state of government that we are inheriting — and that we have to really pick up this work and try to put the pieces back together,” said Hunt. “Young people are keenly aware of this situation and are jumping in at unprecedented rates because we know we can’t afford to wait.”
Hunt is one of four Democrats challenging Steel, who was first elected from the 48th district in 2020 before being redrawn into the current 45th district, which has a partisan lean of D+2.
In Maryland, State Delegate Joe Vogel, also 26, is running for Maryland’s 6th congressional district, another seat with a voter registration of D+2. Vogel is facing nine other Democrats, all running to succeed incumbent David Trone (D-Md.), who is running for the U.S. Senate.
“I think our entire generation is having this moment where we’re channeling that energy and channeling that urgency into having more political representation in terms of the issues,” said Vogel.
“By 2050, I’m still going to be younger than your average member of Congress,” he added. “So that is a perspective that I think is desperately needed in the halls of Congress.”
Vogel was previously one of the first Zoomers elected to the General Assembly, and is also seeking to add his name to the ranks of openly gay members of Congress.
Despite the increasing age of the dominant generations in Congress – Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation – the age makeup of Congress is still overwhelmingly older. Boomers and the Silent Generation account for about half of the House and three-fourths of the Senate, while only 12% of House members are Millennials, according to Pew Research.
Other prominent young members of Congress in recent memory include Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who set the record for the youngest woman elected to Congress upon her victory in 2018 at the age of 29, and former Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), elected at the age of 25 in 2020 and thus becoming the first person born in the 1990s to be elected to Congress.