What do a miniature horse, a chicken, a dog, a kitten, and a leopard gecko have in common? They've all campaigned to become the next Pet Mayor of Oakland's Montclair neighborhood. Since 2004, a local veterinary hospital and the village association have staged this fundraising event to benefit the Montclair Pet and Wildlife Fund. A buck buys a vote, and stuffing the ballot box is not only legal, it's encouraged. This year's primary was particularly heated (no dogs-in-heat jokes please; it's just not dignified) and the race managed to raise more than $13,000. Bios and voting records aren't made public, so it's damned near impossible to determine where each pet stands on the issues, but voters can attend meet-and-greets at the Montclair farmers' market to evaluate the candidates' style, charisma, and gravitas. (Twitchy the Rat, exhausted from a grueling travel schedule, fell somewhat short on these accounts at a recent appearance, sounding the death knell for his campaign.) Although this year's ballot was as diverse as America itself, the newly minted mayor is Murphy, a Labrador retriever sporting a natty yellow bandana. Once again, this election went to the dogs.
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