A longtime prosecutor in Washington state will face his first-ever opponent in 10 terms -- and the challenger is four-legged.
Nyima, a fluffy mutt with “great character,” will challenge David McEachran, a Republican and the longtime Bellingham County prosecutor, as a write-in candidate.
“To run for prosecutor, you have to be a human and a lawyer,” Frank James, Nyima’s owner and a Democrat, told ABC News today. “I am one of them but not the other.”
“It’s for fun, but also to make a point,” James said. “Our current prosecuting attorney has had no opposition in the past 10 terms. It’s time for other people to think about running.”
McEachran did not respond to ABC News' request for comment. He told KOMO, an ABC affiliate, that he could not speak on the matter because he was too busy preparing for an upcoming case.
James believes that if no one ever runs against the current politician, important questions will never get talked about. To James, the strongest way to hold public officials accountable is for people to run against them.
“I was trying to get people to vote and get involved in politics, because young people nowadays are not very interested in it,” James said.
Since he put out word that he would like to see Nyima as a write-in candidate for the next prosecutor, James has gotten many messages from young people telling him they are registering to vote for Nyima.
“It’s no brilliant political strategy,” James said. “But a number of people have told me that they are registering to vote for my dog.
“It doesn’t matter what your political persuasion is,” James added. “It’s for the well-being of the community. I want to make this fun for people. It’s for people to become a bigger, more thoughtful part of the community.”
James, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and a family doctor, said he hopes a young lawyer will take up the prosecutor position despite the low pay.
“We need an idealist,” James said.
“Nyima has a lot of characters that we’d like to see in politicians,” James said, “honestly, sincerity, simple, clear thinking about stuff, and not serving the interests of the wealthy of powerful.”
However, as Nyima has gotten support, criticism has followed.
“Dealing with a ‘frivolous’ candidate would slow down the election process and cost us extra money,” Debbie Adelstein, Whatcom County auditor, told ABC News.
“I would certainly encourage them [the Democrats] to put out a candidate,” Adelstein said. "But they are trivializing the election by just putting a dog down. Some voters take their votes very seriously, and they may feel insulted by that. ... We are not going to count the actual votes for the dog, because it’s not a viable candidate."