Special Election Edition: Tigger or Fido For President?
By Linda Kaplan, MHA, Vice President
With only weeks to go until the 2016 election season comes to a close (collective groan), we thought we’d step away from the intense human political conversations and provide a little levity with true stories of animals that have “run” for various political offices (and sometimes even won!)
Non-human electoral candidates have been found in a number of countries over the years. Often, the candidacies are a means of casting a protest vote or satirizing the political system. Other times, it is simply done for the entertainment value.
Here are a few of our favorites (in no particular party (or breed) preference):
Republican Precinct Committeeman – Milton, WA
BOSTON CURTIS – Brown Mule
On September 13, 1938, Boston Curtis became the new Republican Precinct Committeeman for the town of Milton, Washington. As it turned out, Democrat Milton Mayor Kenneth Simmons, who wanted to make Republicans look foolish and show that the average voter had no idea who he or she was supporting, had arranged the whole stunt.
Mayor – Lajitas, Texas
CLAY HENRY – Goat
As a beer-drinking mayor from 1986 until his death in 1992, Clay Henry served his Lajitas, Texas constituents well, despite the fact that he was a goat. His son, Clay Henry, Jr., took over the position for a while, but he soon resigned. Lajitas is an unincorporated community where the position of mayor is merely symbolic. In fact, the only thing these mayors had to worry about while in “office” was attracting tourists who would come and offer them beers.
Mayor – Sunol, California
BOSCO – Labrador retriever & Rottweiler mix
Like Clay Henry, Bosco the dog held the honorary title of mayor in the unincorporated community of Sunol, California. He served as mayor for over 13 years, until his death in 1994. Today, a statue commemorates the town’s favorite mayor in front of the post office.
Mayoral Candidate – Marseille, France
SAUCISSE – French Dachshund
Saucisse, a French Dachshund, started life as a stray before being rescued by a French writer named Serge Scotto. Scotto started using him as a character in his novels. This brought the dog a fair amount of fame—so much so that he finished 6th (with 4.5 percent of votes) when he “ran” for mayor of Marseille, France, in 2001. Since he didn’t win, he ended up on a reality show…just like our politicians.
Mayor – Cormorant, Minnesota
DUKE – Great Pyrenees
In August 2014, Duke won an election and became the new Mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota. He presided over the four-block-long village with a population of 12. In 2016, the village re-elected him for the third year in a row. Cormorant Village never had a mayor before Duke was elected.
City Council Candidate – Sao Paulo, Brazil
CACARECO – Rhinoceros
Cacareco, a rhinoceros at the São Paulo zoo, was a candidate for the 1958 city council elections with the intention of protesting against political corruption. Electoral officials did not accept Cacareco’s candidacy, but he eventually won 100,000 votes, more than any other party in that same election. Today, the term “Voto Cacareco” (Cacareco vote) is commonly used to describe protest votes in Brazil.
Candidate for Senate – State of Virginia
HANK – Maine Coon
Hank, a Maine Coon from Northern Virginia, ran against Tim Kaine (yes, THAT Tim Kaine) and George Allen for Virginia’s Senate seat in 2012. He earned third place in the state, with nearly 7,000 votes.
US Presidential Candidate – Democrat
PIGASUS – Hog
In 1968, Pigasus was nominated for President of the United States and was backed by the Yippies, including prominent activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Pigasus did not win the election as he was arrested along with several Yippies during his candidacy “speech.” Apparently, he “hogged” the stage. Pigasus was never heard from again, although some speculate that one of the arresting officers took him home for dinner….so to speak.
Mayor – Talkeetna, Alaska
STUBBS – Cat
Stubbs has been the Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska since 1997, which has proven to be a boon to the town’s tourism industry. Visitors can see Stubbs every day at the local general store, which doubles as his mayoral office. In 2013, Stubbs barely survived a dog attack. Thankfully, worldwide donations softened the financial blow from his time in the hospital.
US Presidential Candidate – Democrat (or maybe, Democat)
LIMBERBUTT MCCUBBINS – Cat
Limberbutt McCubbins is a cat from Kentucky who is officially registered as a Democratic candidate for the 2016 United States presidential election. The idea came from a high school senior named Isaac Weiss, and the cat belongs to his friend Emilee McCubbins. Limberbutt’s campaign slogan is “Meow Is The Time.” He may have stayed a local issue, had The Rachel Maddow Show not brought it widespread attention.
Mayoral Candidate – Xalapa, Mexico
MORRIS – Cat
In 2013, Morris ran for mayor of Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz, Mexico, on a platform of napping in office and doing nothing. That resonated powerfully among his constituents, who showed up to “Like” his Facebook page in droves — far more than any human candidate. Morris’s slogan translated as “Tired of voting for rats? Vote for a cat!” and when the election happened he got 12,000 write-in votes to come in fourth out of 11 candidates.
Now it’s your turn to vote…what say you?