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In his official capacity as mayor of his tiny Minnesota town, 4-year-old Bobby Tufts has enjoyed the benefits of his political power.
“His biggest perks are that he gets to give hugs and gets lots of free ice cream,’’ his mother, Emma Tufts, told TODAY.com.
Bobby, who appeared on TODAY Saturday, became the mayor of Dorset, Minn., in August of 2012 when he was only 3 years old after his name was picked out of a hat at the annual “Taste of Dorset’’ festival. In the seasonal town of 26 residents, candidates pay the $1 ballot fee to literally throw their names in a hat during the yearly mayoral election at the festival. (The position is symbolic, because the town actually is run by a group of five local business owners.)
“He ran an actual campaign,’’ his mother said. “All the waitresses at the Dorset House and some at Campaneros were wearing buttons with his campaign picture that said, ‘Vote for Bobby!’ and we had posters all over town. I don’t know how many votes he had in the hat, but a lot of the customers were voting him in.”
Bobby was given an oak plaque symbolizing a key to the city, and also got gift certificates from all the local businesses following his election.
Now, when he’s not fishing or rock climbing, hizzoner can be found making the rounds around Dorset. He became known throughout the state and the country when he took part of the annual Governor’s Fishing Opener on May 9 in Park Rapids, Minn.
“He’s pretty much a celebrity around town when he walks in to Dorset House and other places, because he knows all the waitresses,’’ Emma Tufts said. “He’s very charming. For him, it’s just another day. He thinks it’s just part of being mayor. Even before all the publicity, the local people really knew who he was.”
However, he may soon have a political rival vying for his spot.
“He has a 15-month-old brother,’’ Emma Tufts told TODAY.com. “Maybe he’ll run next year.’’