Vintage Idaho – The Canine Candidate

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This nostalgic story of a nearly successful political campaign is brought to you by the 1983 Gem of the Mountains Digital Yearbook.

He wasn’t your ordinary ASUI senatorial candidate: he had four legs, a wet nose, and was able to catch Frisbees flawlessly in his mouth. He had no political affiliations or living group loyalties, but was extremely affectionate to strangers in public.

His name was Dook and his master and campaign financial director, Bill Malan, organized a write-in campaign for the three-year old Springer Spaniel and Lab. Their slogan was “Write in DOOK… because every dog has his day.”

Although Dook didn’t win, he did “have his day.” The canine candidate attracted 815 of the 2319 votes, and some students said they participated just to cast ballots for Dook. Counting Dook, there were 13 candidates for the senate, and the dog came in seventh. There were only six open senate seats.

According to Malan, Dook was qualified to become an ASUI senator, but there would have been drawbacks if he were elected. “I think Dook would make a good senator, but he probably wouldn’t show up for any of the senate meetings.”

“A lot of candidates say their job is mainly to listen to students,” he continued. “Well, Dook’s ears are about three times bigger than any of the senators. He also had twice as many legs, plus I don’t think he could do worse of a job. It would also save the students some money because he wouldn’t accept any pay.”

Malan and campaign director Kirk Nelson accompanied Dook as he campaigned throughout the UI dormitories, with good response. Nelson said, “He’s got Upham Hall solidly behind him, plus he’s got a large portion of the women in the Tower on his side. The girls, especially, went for him.”

Malan reported spending about $10 on Dook’s campaign, most of it for glue used in sticking up posters and flyers.

While some people considered the campaign a mockery of student government and questioned the motives behind it, Malan said he took it seriously, and questioned other candidates’ motives for running as well.

“I think the ASUI is mostly used as something to pad peoples’ resumes,” he said. “It’s used for their personal motives, and while I don’t mind that, I do mind it when they try to pass it off as doing students a favor. At least they should be honest about it.”

By voting for Dook, Malan said that students would be sending the ASUI “a clear mandate to cut the fatheads out of the senate.”

If Dook had been elected, he wouldn’t have accepted office according to Malan.

Dook, himself, didn’t particularly care one way or another… he’d probably just as soon catch Frisbees on the Ad lawn.

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