The people of Fort Wayne have spoken. They want Harry Baals.
To be more precise, they want Harry Baals' name tacked onto a new city building.
When the city invited people to suggest names for a new government center, thounsands went online to propose naming it after a longtime mayor from the 1930s and '40s.
The hitch? The city is-- perhaps understandably -- reluctant to honor the overwhelming winner. Officials confirmed to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette this week that they would not, in fact, be christening the building the "Harry Baals Government Center," even though Baals' name received more than 10,000 votes. (The second runner-up didn't even crack 600.)
The jokes and faux outrage came fast and furiously. Jimmy Kimmel demanded the vote be honored.
"It's his name! We have a planet named Uranus, and we can't have a building named Harry Baals?" he joked on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "I really think it's ridiculous."
There is already a street in Fort Wayne named after Mr. Baals, but the city changed it.
The saga of Harry Baals reminds us that in the political arena, politicians (aspiring or otherwise) frequently materialize with uncommon, uncanny or otherwise unbelievable names. We salute them all, but here are a few of our favorites:
Isaac Count de Money Wilson, a candidate for alderman in Aurora, Ill., is new to politics. But thanks to challenges to his candidacy filed -- and subsequently dropped -- by his opponents, he got considerable name recognition.
Young Boozer is the new Alabama state treasurer. He would introduce himself on the stump as "Young Boozer -- and yes, that's my real name."
Isaac Hayes, a Republican minister and first-time candidate, was handily defeated by incumbent Illinois Representative Jesse James Jr.
Rep. Jack Spratt (D-S.C.), who is formally named John, was defeated in his reelection bid in November.
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) is not quite as funny as his namesake.
Twinkle Cavanaugh is the newly-elected Alabama Public Service Commissioner.
Rep. Richard "Dick" Swett (D-N.H.) served in the House in the mid-1990s.
Connie Mack, legally named Cornelius McGillicuddy IV, is a Republican Congressman from Florida. He is the great-grandson of the original Connie Mack, the legendary manager of baseball's Philadelphia Athletics.
Rich Whitney was furious when his name was misspelled as "Whitey" on touch-screen voting machines (in some mostly black wards) when he ran for governor of Illinois on the Green Party ticket.
He might have seen the snafu coming if he'd had a crystal ball to look into. Or not:
Krystal Ball ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Republican incumbent Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.).
If she could have predicted the outcome, perhaps she wouldn't have run.