There are 11 candidates running for the mayor of Divide. That's right, 11.
And while they're all very lovable, one is simply an ass.
And that ass, Herbie the donkey, marks the oldest candidate that Divide, the Teller County town near Cripple Creek, has had since its new election format came into play in 2010.
The 35-year-old Herbie, from Cripple Creek, joins a hedgehog, a mustang, a wolf, a cat and six dogs that will battle it out in the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter's biannual fundraiser that will determine which animal succeeds outgoing Mayor Walter the three-legged cat.
"Walter got more votes than the mayor of Woodland Park did to win," said the shelter's Nancy Adams, talking fondly about the 2012 election and the orange, fuzzy and quite plump winner, found each day lounging around the Animal Clinic of Woodland Park.
When asked how he felt about giving up his term as mayor of Divide, Walter squinted, let out a subtle "meow" and went back to sleep. Walter followed Sprite the pit bull, who won the inaugural fundraiser in 2010.
Divide's 2014 mayoral election begins online Saturday and runs through 7 p.m. April 8. Voters can go to tcrascolorado.com to vote or visit any of 16 voting locations in Teller County.
Each vote costs $1 with all money going to support the shelter. Voters can vote as many times as they want and for as many candidates as they see fit, Adams said, noting that donations to the nonprofit are tax-deductible.
The 2014 candidates include Herbie, who will be campaigning Saturday and Sunday and Feb. 22-23 at the Cripple Creek Ice Festival; Blackberry, a hedgehog rescued from Florida; Buster, the shop cat at the Outpost Feed & Ranch Supply in Florissant; Cider, a Labrador that hangs out at the State Farm Insurance office in Woodland Park; Gracie, a mustang rescued from Wyoming; Lilly, a spaniel with the Real Estate Marketing Group and that Adams says is "just pretty"; Millie, a recently adopted shelter dog; Keyni, a wolf at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center; Teddy, another rescue dog that lives at Ancestral Arts in Divide; Zack, a therapy dog with Sundance Skilled Nursing and Rehab; and Pa Kettle, a bloodhound that works with Teller County Search and Rescue.
Adams said the shelter will hold a rally to meet the candidates 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 1 at Venture Foods in Divide. She said there will be dogs available for adoption at the event.
Adams said the fundraiser raised more than $10,000 for the shelter in each of the 2010 and 2012 elections, with Sprite bringing in more donations than Walter.
"Sprite's person did such hard campaigning that he just wiped out the competition and made us so much money."