It’s been a rather progressive week in politics. Wisconsin elected the nation’s first openly gay senator, Hawaii elected the nation’s first Asian-American female senator, and Virginia came very close to electing the first feline senator.
It appears that Hank, the 10-year-old cat who waged a write-in campaign in this year’s Virginia senate race, actually received enough votes to place third, behind former Virginia governors Tim Kaine and George Allen. Hank’s campaign manager, Matthew O’Leary, told the National Constitution Center’s blog that the feline political aspirant received 6,832 votes as of Thursday, not counting absentee and provisional ballots.
So it looks like the Old Dominion’s dark horse (dark cat?) candidate gained a decent amount of publicity and support with his job-centric, grassroots campaign, overcoming a brutal attack ad in March. The smear campaign questioned Hank’s legitimacy, speculating on why he never released a copy of his birth certificate or tax returns. But Hank prevailed, with his whiskers held high, purring proudly toward the November finish line.
Throughout months of campaigning, the determined Maine Coon has maintained a strong presence on social media, with heavily-updated Facebook and Twitter pages. His campaign team has used these outlets largely to share Hank’s goals and visions and to interact with supporters.
As the folks at Constitution Center point out, Virginia’s official election results don’t list write-in candidates like Hank, so it’s not yet certain that Hank indeed placed third. But given the number of write-in votes he received, it seems likely. O’Leary hopes to determine a final vote count by Tuesday, Nov. 13, when all the state’s precincts are required to file their results.
Of course, even if Hank had received enough votes to beat out the frontrunners, his age and species would technically prevent him from taking office. But remember: this is America, where laws are meant to be changed.