This Boca Raton man is technically too young to serve in Congress; he’s running anyway

Michaelangelo Hamilton
There is precedent for what he’s trying to do.

Serial entrepreneur Michaelangelo Hamilton of Boca Raton hopes to beat all odds and make history this November by first securing the Democratic nomination and then winning the race for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District.

Hamilton would be among the youngest people in history elected to Congress. But there’s one problem: He will be just 23 in January, when the 118th Congress is sworn in.

That’s two years too young.

Members of the U.S. House must be at least 25 to serve. The minimum age for Senate service is 30. For President, it’s 35.

Those requirements, set forth in the Constitution, are common knowledge for most Americans who took a civics class in middle or high school. And they’re hardly news to Hamilton, whose earnest passion for politics saw him participate in student government activities at Florida Atlantic University.

Hamilton confirmed with Florida Politics that he was born Oct. 31, 1999, and acknowledged he is technically not old enough for congressional service. He also had a good answer when asked why he is running anyway. Because there is an argument for what Hamilton is trying to do.

He pointed to William Charles Cole Claiborne of Tennessee, who won a U.S. House seat in 1797, when he was elected to complete Andrew Jackson’s term in the 5th Congress. He was 22 at the time, not old enough to serve. The House seated him anyway. It did so again two years later when he won re-election at 24.

“It’s up to Congress to determine the qualifications of the members-elect, and we have precedent on our side,” Hamilton said. “I know I’m going to hear a lot of that on the campaign trail, but this happened before.”

To be fair, there is a bit of a divide between Hamilton and Claiborne concerning credentials. Hamilton’s LinkedIn page lists him as a past student Representative at FAU, where he also served on the school election commission. He’s otherwise never held elected office.

In private life, Hamilton owns and operates two small businesses, including Michaelangelo’s Virtual Solutionsand Rising Gen Z Enterprises Inc.. He has posted several videos about his business interests and political aspirations on his Facebook page.

Claiborne, meanwhile, worked as an assistant to the first U.S. House Clerk before being appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Only after that did he run for federal office.

No one under 25 has been elected to Congress in the modern era. Former U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorne of North Carolina turned 25 in August 2020, three months before winning office. That made him the third-youngest person to win a U.S. House seat behind Claiborne and Jed Johnson Jr., also of Tennessee, who took office in 1965, seven days after his 25th birthday.

But Hamilton remains undeterred. He cited the historic 2008 election of President Barack Obama and recent school shootings as inspiration for his candidacy.

“Since I was 16, this was something I felt I had to do and always wanted to do, to make public service a career,” he said. “If I get elected, I’ll work tirelessly to make sure we get more gun safety laws passed and work to solve this crazy issue with hate crimes, make sure we stand strong in this country and review all the White nationalism — everything that’s going on in this country in terms of that.

“I’ll also make sure the American people have representation in this race. This district needs someone who stands up for all people, including people of color.”

He added, “I don’t have a Super PAC. Other candidates may. That’s what makes this campaign dynamic different. I self-funded to qualify. This is a grassroots campaign, and I’m working to make this possible.”

Hamilton is one of 12 candidates the Federal Election Commission lists as running in CD 23.

In the Democratic Primary, he is set to face Broward County Commissioner and presumptive frontrunner Jared Moskowitz, Broward County Democratic Caucus Chair Hava Holtzhauer, Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Ben Sorensen and candidates Allen Ellison and Michael Trout.

The victor of that contest will face the winner of a Republican Primary between Palm Beach County Republican Committeeman Joe Budd, retired chiropractor Steve Chess, lawyer Christy McLaughlin, lawyer Jim Pruden, insurance broker Darlene Swaffer, Centennial Management Corp. President Lewis Swezy, lawyer Ira Weinstein and candidate Myles Perrone.

No-party candidates Mark Napier and Christine Scott are also running.

Political newcomer Curtis Calabrese, a former U.S. Navy pilot turned commercial captain, dropped out from the race last month following reports by Florida Politics that he was running illegally as a Democrat.

___

Editor’s note: This story was updated to list all the candidates running for CD 23.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


8 comments

  • Christine Scott

    July 5, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    Mark Napier isn’t qualified to run as a No Party Affiliate. Until 12/13/21 he was with the ‘Independence Party of Florida’, which is 182 days before the qualifying period, yet the new law states that a person has to be with the same party for 365 days. Isn’t that exactly why FloridaPolitics claimed Curtis was running ‘illegally’ and got him to drop out of the race?

    • Christine Scott

      July 5, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      I should say, ‘It does not appear that Mark Napier is qualified to run as a No Party Affiliate…’

      • Mark Napier

        July 14, 2022 at 9:22 pm

        Christine… I am qualified. End of discussion.

        YOU MUST REMOVE your false WordPress article “15 Candidates in District 23’s Royal Rumble!” that is not only inaccurate and misleading, but Slanderous. I have already notified WordPress of the false reporting of the article.

        The Florida Division of Elections and Federal Elections Commission too have been notified of the false, misleading and slanderous posting, in addition to your previous emails that you have broadcasted to all parties.

        • Mark Napier

          July 15, 2022 at 1:05 pm

          In addition, perhaps Florida Politics and the readers should research multiple open source reportings from 2020 and 2022 of your true Chameleon political background versus NPA status.

  • Nora Diaz

    July 7, 2022 at 1:01 am

    Regardless of his age, Michaelangelo is well prepared and deserves the opportunity to serve “The People”.
    Let’s all of us give Michaelangelo a chance to show us what he knows to benefit us.
    HE COULD BE A BIG SURPRISE to those who discriminate him because of his age.

    • Christine Scott

      July 7, 2022 at 9:26 am

      He’ll have the opportunity once he’s 25.

      If he’s willing to cut this corner, what other corners will he cut? Will it be to his own benefit or that of the People?

      He could have run for State House…

    • Mark Napier

      July 14, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      Michaelangelo is simply playing the odds to his favor in using a unique precedence established from 1797. I wish him the best.

  • Rick

    July 17, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    I was encouraged to follow up on Candidate Mark Napier’s remark about Christine Scott being a Chameleon in politics. The following is of relevant for the public to be aware.

    Odd that Candidate Christine Scott is running as NPA when in fact she has ties to the Republican Party and is a member of QAnon. She is a Chameleon in hiding. Below are some links to various sites that denotes her own websites/blogs and various open source media reports that substantiates she is QAnon.
    “Christine is registered as a No Party Affiliate. She answers to the People, not a party.”
    QAnon well noted quote used: “Where We Go One We Go All!”
    QAnon – Wikipedia

    2022
    –Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2022 Media Matters for America
    –The 36 QAnon Supporters Running for Congress in 2022 (businessinsider.com)
    –christine scott candidate and qanon – – Image Search Results (yahoo.com)
    –Politics1 – Online Guide to Florida Elections, Candidates & Politics
    Christine Scott for Congress District 22 FL 2020 – Christine Scott for Congress (constantcontactsites.com)

    2020
    –Here are the QAnon supporters running for Congress in 2020 Media Matters for America

Comments are closed.


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