It’s a leap year. This congressman is turning 12

Rep. Ben Cline is a “leapling.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Ben Cline is a “leapling.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
Posted February 26, 2020 at 2:08pm

Rep. Ben Cline is too young for Congress — sort of.

The Virginia Republican was a leap year baby, born on Feb. 29, and he has definitely heard that joke before.

“I’m happy to only celebrate every four years,” says Cline, since birthdays are “no fun” to talk about once you get past a certain stage. He’s turning 48 this year. (Or is that 48 divided by four?)

At least one constituency is having fun with the whole leap year thing: his kids.

“They tell total strangers that I’m only 11,” says Cline. “They’ve figured out that when they turn 13, we’ll be the same age.”

Asked whether he prefers “leapling” or “leaper” — two names thrown around by the born-on-Feb. 29 community — he says either is fine.

“After running in eight state House races and one congressional race, that’s not the worst thing I’ve ever been called,” Cline says.

To celebrate on Saturday, he plans to eat a steak dinner, cookie dough ice cream (his favorite) and chocolate cake. After parrying a lifetime of questions about what it’s like to be a leapling, he’s earned it.