Faithful Addicting Info readers may recall a recent article we published about a campaign in Georgia to choose Charles Darwin as a write-in candidate against Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican evolution-denier and science-hater (on the House Science Committee, for some bizarre reason!) who was running unopposed (really, Democrats, that is just embarrassing). Zombie Charles Darwin managed to earn almost 4,000 write-in votes.
According to Jezebel and Gawker, however, Charles Darwin was not the only write-in candidate selected by annoyed voters. As Gawker‘s Max Read put it, “Local Athens publication Flagpole has a list of all the write-in candidates. And basically each one would make a better candidate than Paul Broun, including, “ANY NON-INSANE INDIVIDUAL.””
Here are some example write-in votes that Gawker highlighted:
Wait…cats? Sure, the Internet loves cats, but no cat is ever going to hold a political office, right? That’s just silly.
Well, even if silly, in Talkeetna, Alaska, they duly elected, via write-in votes, a kitten named Stubbs. That’s Mayor Stubbs to you, citizens. Mayor Stubbs has held his office for fifteen years, and Talkeetna residents couldn’t be happier. The legend goes that, fifteen years ago, the two humans who were running for office were both so roundly disliked by all approximately 900 Talkeetna residents that, on a lark, they submitted write-in votes for a cute little kitten who liked hanging out in a local mom’n’pop-owned general store. And the kitten won.
FOX News reports:
Although his position is honorary, Stubbs’ popularity is real. His election earned him enough press to catapult the town at the base of Mount McKinley into a tourist destination.
Residents say they’re happy that their stubby-tailed mayor is promoting tourism. The general store where Stubbs hangs out says it gets dozens of tourists a day asking for him.
A video about Mayor Stubbs:
Holly Yan at CNN has also reported about Mayor Stubbs:
Not many mayors in the United States enjoy belly rubs from their constituents. Then again, most mayors don’t prance around town naked and curl up for naps in front of local businesses. [His] approval ratings have never been higher.
“He doesn’t raise our taxes — we have no sales tax. He doesn’t interfere with business. He’s honest,” said Lauri Stec, manager of Nagley’s General Store, which doubles as the mayor’s office.
Because Talkeetna is a “historical district,” the mayoral post is more symbolic than functional, said Andi Manning, president of the Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce. So most residents are fine with a four-legged feline running the show. It appears that the residents of the town are willing to put up with the mayor’s high-maintenance lifestyle, due to his presence being a large tourist attraction for the community of 800 human beings. Even though dogs run loose and outnumber people in Talkeetna, he said, the canines seem to respect Stubbs’ authority. “I’ve never seen a dog mess with him,” Basilone said.
Though the mayor generally receives positive reviews for his laissez-faire politics, he is guilty of frequently sleeping on the job. “His biggest political rivals would be other local businesses that would hate that he comes over and takes a nap and leaves fur everywhere. They aren’t big fans of him,” Farrar said. “We usually say, ‘You have to deal with it. He runs the town.'”
Okay, so a little town in Alaska has a cat mayor. Perhaps Alaskans are a little kookier than the average person, though? After all, they inflicted Sarah Palin on us. Surely cats and politics aren’t a thing.
Guess what? Cat politicians are totally a thing. A trend, if you will. There’s a cat named Tuxedo Stan in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, who–perhaps inspired by Mayor Stubbs–is running for mayor with help from his owners (and campaign managers) Hugh and Kathy Chisholm. Halifax is a regional municipality more than a “real town,” but it is not exactly an unknown little flyspeck with only a single traffic light.
Eric Pfeiffer reports on Tuxedo Stan for Yahoo! News:
[A] third-party candidate running for mayor of the regional municipality has a lot going for him: He’s elegantly dressed, he has a clear platform and he’s popular in the polls. Oh, and he’s a cat.
“Tuxedo Stan,” an adorable black-and-white cat, is head of his own political party, “The Tuxedo Party,” whose platform is to improve the general welfare of cats in the area, “because neglect isn’t working,” according to the cat’s Facebook page. [...] The ambitious feline does face an uphill climb. For instance, his nonhuman status prevents him from appearing on official ballots.
Hugh Chisholm is taken aback at just how much attention his cat’s unusual run is garnering. “I think the thing that floored me the most was a couple of days ago we got a tweet that Stan had made the Sky News Arabia Network,” Chisholm told the CBC. “So, I followed the link and here’s a story about Stan in a language that I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying except every so often he comes out with ‘Tuxedo Stan.'”
Tuxedo Stan is not, arguably, making a serious attempt to win the election. His candidacy is apparently a clever word-of-mouth publicity campaign designed to highlight the need for a “city-sponsored spay, neuter and cat care program for Halifax.”
As reported by Yahoo! News:
“There are literally thousands of homeless cats – feral and abandoned – who live by their willpower in the back alleys and streets and bushes in HRM,” Hugh Chisholm, Tuxedo Stan’s campaign manager and owner [and a retired veterinarian] told the Halifax ChronicalHerald. “There is very little people can do if they want to help, because there is no pound. If there’s a lost or injured dog, you can call the pound and they will come and take the dog and give it a place to stay, and some food and care. But if you do the same thing with a cat, you get nothing, because there’s nothing in place.”
Since the Tuxedo Party of Canada was founded in June, Stan has garnered over 2,300 fans on his Facebook page, which he diligently updates when he’s not busy campaigning or napping. [His] popularity has gone international, appearing everywhere from CTV News to Sky News Arabia. Tuxedo Stan posters and buttons can be found at local Pet Valu stores.
Sadly, Stan won’t be able to follow in the paw-prints of Stubbs, the mayor of Talkeeta, Alaska, who has held office for 15 years, because cats aren’t allowed to hold office in Nova Scotia. But enough write-in votes should do enough to raise attention to Stan’s feline sanctuary cat … er … platform.
Sarah Medina at the Huffington Post has more details:
[Tuxedo] Stan, a 3-year-old feline, is running on the Tuxedo Party’s platform and hopes to raise awareness about the stray cat problem in Halifax. Once a stray himself, Stan’s campaign advocates for a city-sponsored spay, neuter and cat care program.
Currently, Stan’s dreams of running the city may be a long-shot; he lags in the polls and there’s one other small problem –municipal law actually bans animals from holding office. But that isn’t stopping Stan in his mission to save the city’s strays. All proceeds from the sale of Tuxedo Stan buttons, lawn signs and T-shirts go to a “Spay Day” initiative which helps low-income families spay or neuter their cats.
“I’m just glad I’m not running against Tuxedo Stan. He is everywhere these days. #hfxpoli” Candidate Waye Mason tweeted.
So Mayor Stubbs holds an honorary position as mayor, and Tuxedo Stan is not running not to win, but to highlight an animal health and safety issue in Halifax, which is being over-run with hundreds and thousands of feral felines. Stubbs draws in tourists who may be headed to enjoy the beauty of nearby Mount McKinley or on their way to Anchorage. Tuxedo Stan might inspire the powers that be in Halifax to address a badly needed community-wide spay and neuter program. At least there aren’t cats running for the House or Senate in the United States. That would be ridiculous.
Meet Hank, a cat in Virginia who ran as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate. He came in third. Hank’s Facebook page reports: “With still some localities not reporting, but 99% of the vote counted, we are at 6,832. That is a Virginia record for at least 18 years, most likely much more than that: we’ll dig up the records to find out exactly how historic this final moment was, and make sure to update again with full totals when we hit 100%.”
Yes, a cat–albeit an adorable cat–earned over 6,000 votes. (Remember how George Bush and Al Gore were only separated by 537 votes in 2000? Even this year, some races without a cat challenger soliciting write-in votes were very tight, such as Allen West vs. Patrick Murphy and Jim Graves vs. Michele Bachmann.)
As Laura Beck wrote for Jezebel:
“Bust out the Meow Mix because a FUCKING CAT came in third in Virginia’s Senate race. With 6,000 votes, no less! Hank the Cat ran on a pro-feline, job-creation, unlimited access to Fancy Feast (Salmon Supreme flavor) platform. This is not a joke, this is our reality. Well, maybe it’s both, but CATS 4 PREZ IN 2016.”
Gawker readers respond:
cassiebearRAWR: He would have suggested freezing the entire intelligence budget until they figured out WHERE THAT RED DOT WENT.
OhMyMittens: To be fair, Hank had some pretty brilliant ideas how to cut the deficit.
yeahhhhno: Sure, but I bet that Democrat would have won by an even greater margin if that damn cat hadn’t siphoned votes off of what was clearly the liberal portion of the electorate.
TakemehometoMayo: How is he going to run Virginia when he concusses himself trying to attack that bastard cat in the mirror who oddly resembles him?
On a more serious note, Scott Bomboy for the Constitution Daily writes:
The battle for the U.S. Senate between Tim Kaine and George Allen in Virginia may have been settled in the litter box instead of the ballot box if the tightly contested election had come down to about 6,000 votes given to a cat. It’s entirely possible that third-place finisher in Virginia is Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon who ran on a pro-feline, job-creation platform.
While having a cat run for the Senate may seem like a joking matter, a total of more than 6,000 votes in a close election isn’t. A future president, Lyndon B. Johnson, won his first U.S. Senate race in Texas by 27 votes. And we all know how close the 2000 presidential race was in Florida. Today in Wisconsin, functional control of that state’s Senate will come down to an election decided by 590 votes.
For the record, Hank’s total is about 7,000 votes less than the presidential votes received in Virginia by Virgil Goode, who was seen as a potential spoiler in the Obama-Romney race. [...] Matthew O’Leary, the campaign manager for Hank, tells Constitution Daily that his candidate has 6,832 votes as of Thursday morning, not counting absentee and provisional ballots. O’Leary says it is the highest total for a write-in U.S. Senate candidate in Virginia since 2002, which would likely indicate that Hank finished third behind Kaine and Allen, when the election board releases that data.
In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t appear Hank would be constitutionally eligible to hold office. For starters, Hank is just 10 years old. A U.S. senator has to be 30 years of age (and most likely a human) to hold office.
The Huffington Post even gave Hank a chance to air his views:
Friends, we live in troubled times – there’s no doubting that. We hear all about friends and neighbors – people just like you and me – who are struggling to make ends meet. Unemployment has touched us all in some way, and we all suffer for it. I hear a lot of new and crazy ideas on how to fix things – spend more money, give more handouts, start new programs, and so on. What people don’t realize is that we don’t need some new crazy way of doing something to fix our problems. After all, the problems we face now have been faced by Americans since this great land was founded. Right now we need to fall back on time-tested solutions, not social theory. As I’ve traveled throughout the Commonwealth I’ve seen real people with real problems, not guinea pigs for a politician’s experiments.
To make our homes and our future a better and brighter place, we don’t need to start at the top – we need to start right here with ourselves. If you improve the living condition of a single home, it has a ripple effect throughout the street. Improve the street, it ripples to the neighborhood. Improve the neighborhood, it ripples to the county. Improve the county, it ripples through the state. Improve the state, it ripples to the entire nation. In each of us we have the power to improve our own lives, to improve the lives of our neighbors, our state, and our country.
It takes a village; right, Hank? Suddenly, I feel inspired to Vote For Hank. Here’s a Hank For Senate campaign advertisement:
The way things are going, CNN’s affable anchor Anderson Cooper might have to revisit the topic of cat politicians on a future show. Here’s a “RidicuList” feature from a while back: “When Cats Run For Office”:
Next up: lagomorphs and mustalids running for office: