Image via Unsplash.com- George Potter

The Mule That Was Elected To Public Office

In 1938, a politician decided to prove many voters didn’t know who they were voting for by helping get a mule elected

Andrew Martin
3 min readNov 18, 2022

--

No matter what side of the political aisle you may come down on, it is a reasonable bet that most will agree that throughout history there have been times when some real jackasses have been voted into office. However, on one occasion, in 1938 in the state of Washington, an actual mule received enough votes to win public office.

Political stunts are unfortunately another all too familiar occurrence in the United States. In 1938, Kenneth Simmons, the Democratic mayor of Milton, Washington decided to play a very significant trick. He not only wanted to make the Republican party look foolish, he also hoped to demonstrate how many voters in his opinion had no real idea of who they were casting votes for.

Mayor Simmons covertly helped put a Republican candidate named Boston Curtis up for the position of Republican precinct committeeman. An unknown, Curtis still managed to win his race with 51 votes. This was despite there being no campaign and no platform presented by the candidate. Essentially, voters chose him based on simply name and party. However it turned out there was something voters weren’t aware of. Their new committeeman was not a person but actually a mule.

The candidate’s name was a combination of the animal’s actual name (Boston) combined with its owner’s last name (Curtis).

Despite the shocking nature of what had transpired, it wasn’t just a cheap trick. The mayor had made sure everything was proper and legal when planning. There was a filing notice formally announcing the mule’s candidacy, which was signed by Boston Curtis — except in place of a signature there was a stamp of one of his hooves. The mayor had also signed it as a witness, thus making it a legal document. It was still a shock to him that the animal won, as he expected to only make some waves when it was discovered that one of the candidates receiving votes was actually a beast of burden.

The story spread across the country like wildfire with numerous newspapers splashing the improbable headline and having a good laugh about the situation. The mayor may have…

--

--

Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.