Corrales is looking to elect a new mayor, and this may be the first time in the history of the village’s mayoral elections that buying votes is not only acceptable, but encouraged.
The Kiwanis Club of Corrales will be holding a fundraising campaign to elect the village’s first “pet mayor.” The money will help cover the costs of the Corrales Harvest Festival in September and be given as grants to local nonprofit organizations.
Election organizer Caryl Trotter will begin taking nominations July 4th until July 31st. From the nominations, she will chose the 12 “strongest candidates” — a group made up of a variety of animals and those with strong campaign support.
The “election” starts Aug. 14 and runs for six weeks — until Sept. 18. Each vote cast will cost $1. While individuals can cast ballots, local businesses can also throw their financial support behind a candidate, with each dollar donated counting as a vote.
Current Mayor Phil Gasteyer said he’s not threatened by the idea of sharing his duties.
“There are some jobs I do as mayor that any animal could do,” he said in a phone interview from home Wednesday.
And he has already decided who he will back.
“My friend Sally has a donkey, Emma, that I’m going to support,” he said. “In other words, I’m going to support a jackass for mayor.”
No word whether Emma is a Democrat.
There has been a lot of talk and rumors about his dog, Wilbur, trying to join the race, said Gasteyer, who noted that Wilbur is an unusual cross of a Dalmatian and basset hound, making him popular in some circles.
But Gasteyer is not impressed.
“I’m not voting for that guy,” he said. “There can only be one mayor in our household and that’s my wife.”
Trotter was the brains behind the election. She was on vacation and visited a local farmers market. She said they were parading animals and encouraging people to elect them mayor. She learned the election was a fundraiser and decided to try the idea in Corrales. She contacted a village in California that has been holding a pet mayor election for years and found out it has become quite popular. She said she’s hoping the same thing will happen in Corrales.
“It gets pretty competitive there,” she said. “Candidates have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Businesses compete to make sure their candidate wins. I hope to generate the same interest here.”