And a Dog Shall Lead Them: Minnesota Town Elects a Great Pyrenees to Mayor’s Office


The village of Cormorant, Minnesota, might be on to something. The citizens of Cormorant elected a dog as mayor of their small town.

The Cormorant, Minnesota, welcome sign.
The Cormorant, Minnesota, welcome sign.

It’s true that Duke, the seven-year-old Great Pyrenees who was swept into office, doesn’t really hold a lot of power. For that matter, he doesn’t even collect a salary. The office is a strictly honorary one, part of the annual Cormorant Daze festival, and it costs $1 per vote. However, the residents of Cormorant say that Duke does his part to make the town safer. David Rick told television station WDAY that just by wandering around, he helps traffic in the town: “What he does is when the cars are coming through town, they’re hitting town at 50 miles per hour, and he slows them down.”

Duke showed a distinct lack of interest in his first interview as Mayor. (Screenshot: WDAY)
Duke showed a distinct lack of interest in his first interview as Mayor. (Screenshot: WDAY)

His media skills do seem to need some work. When a reporter from WDAY knelt down and asked him for a statement, he just panted into the microphone. Hardly an auspicious beginning to his relationship with the news media. On the other hand, he’s a lot more photogenic than the average pol, so that might net him some forgiveness.

Duke gets dressed to take office. (Screenshot: WDAY)
Duke gets dressed to take office. (Screenshot: WDAY)

Following the election, Duke was treated to a five-hour grooming to celebrate, and Tuffy’s Pet Food, from nearby Perham, offered the new mayor a year of free kibble. Given that Duke isn’t collecting a salary, and that Perham is about 40 miles away from Cormorant, I’m inclined to think of that as charity, rather than a glaring example of graft on Duke’s first day in office.

(Screenshot: WDAY)
(Screenshot: WDAY)

It’s kind of hip to hate on “politicians” as if they were a single, indistinguishable class, but I’ve never believed in trashing the occupation. In a democracy, we should all think of ourselves as politicians on some level. To consider the occupation beneath decent people is to disdain democracy itself. That being said, I am a little bit of a misanthrope at heart; I’ve known dogs and I’ve known people, and I think that politics would benefit from a few more dogs in the field.


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