The next governor of Kansas will not be... a dog

No, it’s really not that slow of a news day, but this is one story which still deserves a bit of attention. One candidate for Governor in Kansas this year is not being allowed on the ballot. His name is Angus Wooley and he’s being deliberately barred from running by election officials for blatantly racist reasons. Or perhaps “speciesist” reasons would be more accurate because Angus is a dog. (The Hill)

Kansas officials say a dog whose owner filed for the animal to run for governor will be disqualified, even though there are no state statutes covering candidates’ qualifications.

The Kansas City Star reports that Terran Woolley of Hutchinson, Kan., entered his three-year-old wire terrier, Angus, in the race after news reports surfaced that the state does not have requirements governing who can run for the office.

“A dog will not be allowed to file and put its name on the ballot,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections for the Kansas secretary of State’s office.

Of course it’s a stunt. The owner obviously didn’t think that the dog was going to win, but he was raising an important point. Despite having been incorporated as a state for 157 years, Kansas has never passed a law setting out any minimum requirements to be elected governor. There’s no minimum age, no residency requirements and, apparently, no rule saying you have to be a human being.

As a side note, there is one town in Alaska that had a cat as their mayor for at least fifteen years. Looking around Washington today, it’s tempting to begin thinking that these “humans only” policies aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be.

Now that Angus has blown the lid off this story, legislators are hurrying to put together a new bill to set some minimum requirements, presumably to include proof that you are in fact a homo sapien. But they’ll need to hurry if they want to include a minimum age requirement because several teenagers have already filed to run. One of the Republican candidates is only sixteen and he’s featured in a brief video at the Kansas City Star.

Should we set the minimum age for elected office at 18? After all, we don’t let kids do a lot of other things until they reach the age of majority. Running a state or a city would seem to require some sense of responsibility. Most places have residency requirements also, but they tend to be pretty weak. If New York had a more serious standard for residency in Senate races Hillary Clinton might never have been able to take that seat in 2000, and just imagine where we might be today.

Still, I’ll raise a martini in honor of Angus Wooley tonight. It was worth a try and would have made for a great story. But he’s still a good boy.