Non-human electoral candidates

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The billy-goat Ioiô on display in the Museum of Ceará in Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.

Non-human electoral candidates have been found in a number of countries. Often, the candidacies are a means of casting a protest vote or satirizing the political system. Other times it is simply done for entertainment value.

Electoral regulations may explicitly require candidates to be human (or equivalent wording), or may require candidates to do things which animals cannot reasonably do (such as sign their name legibly on a legal form); most constituencies require candidates to be of the age of a legal adult, which eliminates many animals whose life expectancy is usually too short to ever qualify. On some occasions, however, animals have been accepted as candidates, and have even won office.

Notable examples[edit]

Elected to office[edit]

A statue of Bosco the dog, former mayor of Sunol, California
Stubbs, former honorary "mayor" of Talkeetna, Alaska

Other examples[edit]

A statue of Macaco Tião, a candidate for mayor of Rio de Janeiro
Dustin the Turkey, a puppet, received thousands of votes in Ireland's 1997 presidential election.

  • Giggles the Pig was set to run for mayor of Flint, Michigan in 2015.[35] Lawyer Michael Ewing started "Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor" as a write-in campaign after a city clerk's office error threatened to keep all candidates' names off the August, 2015 mayoral primary election. Ewing said the candidacy "sought to draw more attention to the mayoral race, better educate voters about their choices and encourage residents to demand more of elected officials." Giggles attracted many online fans, while the "other candidates for mayor were less amused." The write-in campaign was cancelled after state officials fixed the mistake and allowed four candidates' names to appear on the ballot, and the race had become "No longer an even playing field" for Giggles. Giggles' Facebook page was then to be used to share good news stories about Flint.[36]
  • Crawfish B. Crawfish is a crawfish from Louisiana. Crawfish's campaign for the United States presidency began on Facebook on a page titled "Can This Crawfish Get More Supporters Than Bobby Jindal?",[37] created on May 31, 2015. The campaign began to receive media attention after Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal announced his bid for the 2016 Presidential race. After Jindal's announcement, Crawfish received media attention from outlets such as The Huffington Post,[38] Salon magazine,[39] Bustle,[40] and popular Louisiana-based publications NOLA Defender[41] and Gambit.[42] Crawfish officially registered with the Federal Election Commission, running for a non-listed party, on July 2, 2015.[43] Crawfish has stated his support of education, gender equality, same-sex marriage, and Game of Thrones, while criticizing the strict bi-partisan system.[44]
  • 9Lives Cat Food mascot Morris the Cat ran for President in 1988, 1992, and 2012.
  • Harambe the gorilla was a candidate in the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Limberbutt McCubbins, a male cat from Kentucky, was registered with the Federal Election Commission as a Democratic candidate for the 2016 United States presidential election.[45] It was brought to national attention by The Rachel Maddow Show[46] and the cat's candidacy was endorsed by Jezebel.[47] Politifact rated the legitimacy of Limberbutt McCubbins' candidacy as "half true", noting that the FEC did not formally consider the cat a candidate because he hadn't spent or received $5,000.[48] Emilee McCubbins, who owns the cat, and Isaac Weiss, who came up with the idea, said they wanted to encourage reform of the FEC, stating that it only took "20 minutes" to register as a candidate, and that they did not even require a social security number. They also wanted to encourage voter registration, particularly young voters.[49]
  • In 2018, Penny Moffett, a one year old puppy, was put forward as a candidate for governor of Kansas after it was determined that there were no restrictions for candidacy.[50] Her platform included increased funding for schools and clean energy initiatives.[51]

Folklore and pop culture[edit]

The notion of animals being elected to office has often been the subject of parody and folklore.

In 1817 Thomas Love Peacock's novel Melincourt featured an orangutan as a parliamentary candidate.

In 1951 cartoon Ballot Box Bunny, Bugs Bunny ran for the office of mayor against Yosemite Sam. Both lost to a "dark horse candidate": a mare.

In 1972, American singer Tom T. Hall had a hit with a recording entitled "The Monkey That Became President" which considered a scenario in which said animal was elected to office.

In 1976, Marvel Comics announced that their character Howard the Duck would run in that year's election for the U.S. presidency.[52]

The Black Mirror episode "The Waldo Moment" explores the concept of a cartoon character electoral candidate. Several news reports, including one by Chris Cillizza, political reporter for The Washington Post, compared the 2016 Donald Trump political campaign to the episode;[53][54] later, in September 2016, episode writer Charlie Brooker also compared the Trump campaign to The Waldo Moment and predicted Trump would win the 2016 election.[55][56]

The nerd-folk song "President Snakes" from the 2015 album of the same name by the music duo The Doubleclicks explores how five snakes run as one electoral candidate.[57][58][59][60][61][62]

Rita Mae Brown detective cat Mrs Murphy ran for President in "Sneakie Pie for President"

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ Boston Curtis
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  6. ^ Vanderbilt Television News Archive
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  36. ^ Steve Carmody (June 10, 2015). "Giggles the Pig no longer running for Flint mayor". Associated Press.
  37. ^ "Can This Crawfish Get More Supporters Than Bobby Jindal?". Can This Crawfish Get More Supporters Than Bobby Jindal?. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  38. ^ "Louisiana Would Rather Vote for a (Mud)Bug Than Bobby Jindal". Huffington Post. July 1, 2015. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  39. ^ White Jr., Lamar (July 1, 2015). "Bobby Jindal has no shame: This charlatan belongs nowhere near the White House". Salon. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  40. ^ Siese, April. "The Crawfish Aiming For More Supporters Than Bobby Jindal Is My New Best Friend". Bustle. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  41. ^ Leonard, Lucy. "CRAWFISH '16". NOLA Defender. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  42. ^ Woodward, Alex (July 8, 2015). "Get to know the crawfish running for president". Gambit. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  43. ^ "Committee/Candidate Details". Retrieved 7 November 2015.
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