Forget Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, when it comes to getting political, the 2012 race is going to the animals.
Meet Ahpun the polar bear and Denali the wolf, the two candidates bidding to become the next president…of the Alaska Zoo.
They may not be holding their own conventions, but the two front-runners are stealing headlines after being introduced Wednesday by the zoo's development director, who is leading the election as a fundraiser.
"I assure you this race is not about the color of their fur, their gender, or even a species issue," Floyd told the Associated Press.
Forgoing all campaign finance rules, supporters can purchase ballots for $1 online to vote for their favorite animal.
"We invite you to vote as much and as often as you like," Floyd said.
The zoo, located in the state's largest city, Anchorage, has built a campaign page for each animal, with a profile, position statement and even a campaign poster in its first go at an animal election.
Ahpun the Polar Bear, self-described on the website as a, "large and in charge natural born leader," is 14-year-old female who has lived at the zoo since she was three months old. Her candidacy, according her Web page, is based on her species' "world-wide name recognition," ability to "paddle with the best through rough waters" and "iconic stature."
Her opponent, Denali the Wolf, says his presidential qualities include the ability to work in a team, that he's not "some lone hunter" and he's "very adaptable in a variety of habitats." The 6-year-old grey wolf, who came to the zoo at just 2 weeks old, is perhaps looking ahead to Mt. Rushmore in his final campaign claim, that he already has a "mountain named after me."
The online "polls" will close at 8 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2012, just as the human presidential race draws to a close too. Zoo officials say all funds raised will be used to support the operating budget of the zoo, a non-profit organization.