Top 9 Animals Elected to Office in the United States

Written by Abby Parks
Updated: October 3, 2022
© WilleeCole Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Key Points

  • Some of the animals people have elected to office in the U.S include dogs, cats, mules, goats, and cows.
  • When a community in Washington elected Committeeman Boston Curtis the Mule in 1938, he was probably one of the first animals in public office.
  • In 1981, East Bay, CA residents elected Bosco the black lab as mayor. He actually beat two human candidates and held the office for the rest of his life until 1994.

While you may think that the donkey and the elephant are just logos for Republican and Democratic officeholders, real-life animals have held office in the United States. Did anyone actually elect a dog to serve the people in their community? Maybe voters chose a cat instead. Is it possible to elect a goat for public office?

Learn the answer to which of these animals has been elected to office in the United States before you swear that all politicians act like animals. We’re not surprised that some communities would prefer a dog, cat, cow, or goat as mayor or choose a mule over a person as a committeeperson. Read to the end and find out who won the poll to decide who is our favorite animal official.

#9 Mayor Duke the Great Pyrenees

In a little town in Minnesota called Cormorant Village, a great Pyrenees named Duke ruled as mayor for 4 consecutive years with a soft paw. In 2014, he was elected as a write-in, then grew to such popularity that in 2016 he won by a landslide, with only one vote going elsewhere–to his “girlfriend” named Lassie. Elections where held at an annual community festival called the Cormorant Daze, and voting rights came with a charge of $1.

Duties that Duke practiced were making appearances in parades and acting as an ambassador for the Minnesota town. He had beautiful, fluffy white hair and often sported a black top hat. He passed away at the age of 13, thus relinquishing his post in 2019.

#8 Mayor Wilbur the Bulldog

Animals Elected to Office: Mayor Wilbur the Bulldog
A French Bulldog named Wilbur was elected to office as mayor of Rabbit Hash

©SasaStock/Shutterstock.com

While some Americans would argue that politicians try to buy their votes all the time, voters in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, must buy their votes. Each vote costs $1, and you can vote as many times as you want. There is also no voter registration, so people anywhere in the world can vote in this city’s mayoral election. On November 3, 2020, Wilbur the Bulldog became the duly elected mayor of this community in Boone County. It was not an easy contest for the young bulldog as he had to beat out the pit bull incumbent mayor named Mayor Brynn.

The idea to elect animals to be mayor in Rabbit Hash came from resident Don Claire during the county’s 200th birthday celebration. The county was serving birthday cake to the mayors of all communities in the county, and they had no one to represent them, so he hatched the idea of an animal mayor. All money goes to support the local historical society, which has raised over $23,000 so far.

Do you think a bulldog would be a good mayor?

#7 Mayor Stubbs the Cat

Mayor Stubbs was a cat who, for two decades, held the highest office in one small town in Alaska.

©Jenni Konrad / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

The people of Talkeetna, Alaska, first elected Stubbs the Cat to serve their best interests in 1997. He continued to hold the office until he passed away in 2017. He survived several assassination attempts during that time, including one by a dog that left him in the veterinarian hospital for nine days. Lauri Stec, the manager of Nagley’s General Store rescued tailless Stubbs when he was a kitten. He continued to use the store as his mayoral office throughout his time in office.

At the time of his death on July 21, 2017, he was 20 years and three months old. Stubbs the Cat had one major issue, Talkeetna is an unincorporated community, so there was no official town to preside over. Voters did not let that stand in their way because officials urged voters to write in his name in 2014 as their U.S. Senate choice. It is the only election that Stubbs the Cat ever lost in his life.

There are many different types of cats.

#6 Mayor Bosco the Dog

Animals Elected to Office: Mayor Bosco the Dog
Bosco, a mix of black Labrador and Rottweiler, was elected as mayor of Sunol, California.

It is doubtful that Bosco the Dog ruled Sunol, California, with an iron paw because he was so friendly. Residents of this East Bay community first elected the black lab in 1981 when the dog owned by the Stillman family had to beat out two human opponents. Residents delighted in his work ethic and the fact that he would work for an occasional dog treat because they kept reelecting him until he died in 1994.

The only problem that town residents had with the friendly lab was that he was continually prowling around town, so several black dogs in the town can claim the former mayor as one of their ancestors. Sunol residents are so proud of what Bosco accomplished while in the office that they have installed a full-size statue of him in front of the local post office.

It is fun to learn about dogs.

#5 Committeeman Boston Curtis the Mule

Animals Elected to Office: Committeeman Boston Curtis the Mule
Boston Curtis the Mule was elected to office in Milton, Washington.

In 1938, the people of Milton, Washington elected Boston Curtis the Mule as a committeeman to represent them on the city council. Boston Curtis even signed his nomination form with his hoofprint while laughing city officials gathered to cheer him on. When the mayor called for nominations for the position, Boston Curtis was the only nominee. Boston Curtis may want you to know that he was not a donkey.

This mule was a staunch Democrat who the town’s mayor owned. Fifty-one Republicans elected Boston Curtis in a unanimous decision without ever realizing that they were voting to elect an animal for office, much less a mule. His Democratic mayor owner said he did it to prove the inefficiency of the primary system. He also said he wanted to prove to Republican voters that they did not know who they were voting for when heading to the voting booth.

Learn more about mules, so you can decide if they would make good officeholders.

#4 Lincoln the Goat

Animals Elected to Office: Lincoln the Goat
Lincoln the goat was elected mayor in Fair Haven, Vermont after a challenge from Sammy the police dog.

©Cuson/Shutterstock.com

Lincoln the Goat was first elected by Fair Haven, Vermont, voters in 1997. She is the first mayor the town had ever had and proudly held the office until November 2020, when voters decided to replace her with Murfee, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. The police chief also ran his German shepherd dog. The owner who raised the most money for a playground at the local school is the winner.

While Lincoln’s owner, a middle school teacher, has earned money in the past by selling t-shirts, this year, she sold $10,000 worth of masks instead. Yet, it was not enough to keep Lincoln the Goat in office, so she will retire to performing goat yoga. Residents are unsure what they will do with the money now because the unincorporated village received a $50,000 grant to build the playground.

See if you think a goat would make a good officeholder or just eat the paperwork.

#3 Clay Henry IV the Goat

Animals Elected to Office: Clay Henry IV the Goat
Clay Henry was a famous beer-drinking goat that was elected as mayor of Lajitas, Texas.

©honzik7/Shutterstock.com

Some families, like the Kennedys, Bushes, and Adams, have passed political power down through multiple generations. It is also that way with Clay Henry IV the Goat, the mayor of Lajitas, Texas, as he is the fourth generation to hold the office. Clay Henry I became the city’s first non-human electoral candidate, but he lost to a human candidate from Houston, Texas. Clay Henry I was not about to give up.

He ran against the mayor four years later. This time, he won the election, and his offspring have won every election since then. Like many humans in office, these non-human electoral candidates love to drink beer, according to their owner.

Goats are fun to learn about so head here.

#2 April the Cow

Animals Elected to Office: April the Cow
April the Cow was elected as mayor of Eastsound, Washington, raising much-needed funds for Children’s House in the process.

©l i g h t p o e t/Shutterstock.com

Write-in candidates often have a hard time winning elections, but April the Cow was able to pull off the task of becoming the mayor of Eastsound, Washington. Luckily, the job was not too challenging for her because she spent most of her days in a pasture chewing her cud.

A moving letter she published in the local newspaper convinced many to write in her name. After serving one term, April the Cow relinquished mayor’s title shortly before she passed away in 2012 and the people elected another animal to office, a Portuguese water dog

Learn more about cows.

#1 Animal Elected to Office: Sweet Tart the Cat

Animals Elected to Office: Sweet Tart the Cat
Sweet Tart the Cat was elected as mayor of the tiny town of Omena, Michigan.

The 267 residents of Omena, Michigan, elected Sweet Tart the Cat as their mayor. It cost anyone voting in this election $1. The town’s historical society raised $7,000 before eventually declaring the multi-colored cat the winner. Tempers may fly during village council meetings as Punkin the Dog won an election to be one of the political animals to represent human and non-human residents.

Find out more about cat breeds.

The answer to which of these animals have made it into public office in the United States is that voters have elected dogs, cats, goats, and a mule. Since most states and communities have official rules that say that a candidate must be a certain age and sign their legal name to get on the ballot, most of these political animals serve in ceremonial roles. These animal electoral candidates may be more helpful than some humans holding office. They have done a great job of raising funds for nonprofits and bringing their communities together.

Top 9 Animals Elected to Office Summary

RankName
#1Mayor Sweet Tart the Cat
#2Mayor April the Cow
#3Mayor Clay Henry IV the Goat
#4Mayor Lincoln the Goat
#5Committeeman Boston Curtis the Mule
#6Mayor Bosco the Dog
#7Mayor Stubbs the Cat
#8Mayor Wilbur the Bulldog
#9Mayor Duke the Pyrenees

Up Next…

Impressed by these animal officials? Let’s consider how these other species would contend as candidates…


The Featured Image

Animals Elected to Office
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About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things folk-music oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet-parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild, and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as: Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

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