Friends, I am sad to report that our friends Laura and Ballew did not win the race for Pet Mayor of Edgewater.
In fact, Ballew came in third, having raised $4,622 for the pet pantry at Care for Real. In second place ($4,764) was Winston, a very good Golden Retriever (is there any other kind?) who has exactly the kind of temperament and outlook you want in a mayor. There would be no dishonor in losing to Winston, who is friendly, waggy, looks great in a tie, and lives in Edgewater. He doesn’t even lose his mind and scream incessantly at livestock, which can’t be said of certain other candidates I may have supported. (When the history of the inaugural race for Pet Mayor of Edgewater is written, it will likely show that Ballew’s race was lost in much the same way as Howard Dean’s in 2004.)
Our boy looks like a gentleman, but he has feelings about animals with hooves, and he expresses those feelings with a tortured cry that can be heard at the International Space Station. He once permanently traumatized a dogsitter because they unexpectedly saw a horse. He’s great with dogs, (some) cats, and people, but when Laura decided he should run for Pet Mayor of Edgewater, she understandably did not expect to share stages with a goat who lives in McHenry County. (Pax’s dad used to live in Edgewater and still owns a business there.)
And in the end, Pax the carpetbagging ungulate snatched victory from the jaws of a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever, with what must have been a substantial last-minute donation to the pet pantry at Care For Real.
To the extent that this contest was never anything more than a capital campaign for said pet pantry, it was a rousing success: together, the candidates raised nearly $20,000. Six grand and change came from Pax. I begrudge Care for Real not one cent of that, and would in fact encourage folks to donate more.
But to the extent that this was also a community outreach effort—which could have resulted in a fluffy, attention-grabbing local ambassador walking the neighborhood’s streets, talking up Care for Real, other local charities, upcoming events, etc.—I am genuinely… peeved that the winner is not from Edgewater. Not pissed, not sad, but definitely peeved. (Pet peeved, even.)
Say what you will about Laura’s competitive streak—and I fully intend to write a short story and/or Christopher Guest-style comedy about this race, starring Laura’s competitive streak—she and Ballew were out in Edgewater every single day this summer, handing out promotional items, raising awareness of the pet pantry, even collecting crumpled singles on the spot from strangers. They not only went to every scheduled campaign event, but to other farmers’ markets, street festivals, restaurant patios, and dog-friendly businesses in the neighborhood. They never got stuck in traffic on the way to a campaign event, because they could walk to all of them.
And listen, I could have walked to all of them from my adjacent neighborhood—and did, in fact, meet up with Laura and Ballew for some informal campaigning—but I would never have entered Murray in this race, because I do not live in Edgewater! This seems obvious to me! How are you gonna be mayor of a place you don’t live in?
I would make a joke about Chicago politics, but the new Mayor of Edgewater doesn’t live in Chicago. Or Cook County.
This is a deeply silly thing to be even so much as peeved about, I know. If Ballew had come in second, I would have been too embarrassed to write any of this, because it would have sounded like 100% sour grapes. It’s only because I believe Winston is the rightful mayor that I feel confident this will be received as no more than 92% sour grapes.
In any case, congratulations to Winston, the People’s Mayor; to lone female candidate Bug, who wears a tiny top hat better than anybody; to good boy Wrigley, whose beautiful cape befits a smol superhero; and to Titus the cat, who fought hard for Edgewater’s indoor pets.
And congratulations, of course, to this big screaming dummy—seen here with constituents Karen and Alyssa—who will remain Mayor of My Heart for life.