Why, yes I have. I ran for student council in 5th grade (I was at a feeder elementary school, and we were running for the office to be held in 6th grade at the middle school). I ran on an empty platform of better cafeteria food, more recess, and less homework. And my “campaign workers” started various gender-based smear tactics (my opponent was female) — where they pressured every guy in the grade to not vote for the girl.
I, thankfully, lost. Jodie was smart, talented, hard-working, and just a great kid — and made a far better representative than I ever could.
My only position after that was doing the budget for my city at Boy’s State after my junior year in high school. Along with Lee, who he and I both were going to the Governor’s School that summer for math. I also learned that you don’t put math people into trying to do government budgets. Even kid’s pretend government budgets. We spend too much time trying to make the math work and balancing the budget.
Thankfully I went into computing, and learned that real leadership was about being the best you could be at something, knowing as much as you could, developing the wisdom to know when to apply it, and making the tough decisions to not do the popular or requested thing if it meant that it wouldn’t work (still working on that), but doing it with a servant’s heart (definitely still working on that) To learn from failure. To be comfortable with “I don’t know” — and to learn that you don’t have to control everything, real leaders know when to let go (still working on that last one too).
The world would likely be a far better place if the kids that ran for student council on empty promises or popularity all lost, and that those that want real change, and propose real “for things” not “against things” solutions won. I’m so very, very, very thankful that happened to me in 5th grade.