A Pet Prospect for US Senate Gives Va. Voters Pause

Dang N. Le/Hank For Senate/AP Photo

Voters looking for change in Virginia should be careful what they wish for. They might just get it.

There's a candidate running for U.S. Senate in the state who's giving some pause (or should we say paws?). He's unlike any other they've had before. Virginia's latest elected-official-wanna-be is named Hank. And he is a cat.

The former street feline has everything a good candidate needs: media exposure , a campaign video and an array of striped ties in power colors. The one thing he's missing? Opposable thumbs.

The cat is running as a write-in, Independent candidate, promising new jobs and a better America. His opponents, George Allen, R-Va. and Tim Kaine, D-Va., are a tough bunch to beat. There are some unresolved questions as to whether Hank can actually be elected. For example, would the age requirement apply?

Section three of the preamble of the Constitution says, "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen," but it makes no age limit for cats. This is especially problematic as in cat years, Hank surpasses the age minimum, but in human time, he's still only eight years old.

Technically the Constitution does not specify that a Senator must be human. Just the same, some critics have their doubts about the legality of a cat in the Senate.

Despite questions of his legitimacy, Hank's soliciting campaign donations  and giving interviews just like a real candidate.

Though he might not be able to sign his own name or work an electronic voting device, the cat knows his communications strategies. He has a Facebook , Twitter and website , plus he's currently running a giveaway, mailing free Hank for Senate t-shirts to fans who submit photos of themselves with their pro-Hank signs. On Twitter he has 361 followers and 2,061 likes on Facebook. Considering he only launched his Twitter account in October, that's almost 100 new followers per month.

The question is, are these fans drawn to Hank's cuteness or his message?

A statement on his website gives an idea of what the candidate stands for: conservative values starting with personal responsibility.

"To make our homes and our future a better and brighter place, we don't need to start at the top - we need to start right here with ourselves. If you improve the living condition of a single home, it has a ripple effect throughout the street," the candidate supposedly writes. "In each of us we have the power to improve our own lives, to improve the lives of our neighbors, our state, and our country."

How's that for a purrfect proclamation?

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