November is a month for political animals: Elephants. Donkeys. And, of course, hound dogs.

In Rabbit Hash, the Northern Kentucky riverfront hamlet, a black Labrador named Junior Cochran has held court as the duly elected mayor for four years. (He had won a heated election by 3,000 votes.)

Tragically, Junior went to the great town council in the sky this summer at the fine age of 12.

Now, the village’s population will go to the polls this month to elect a successor for his high office. Opponents are fighting tooth and claw for the honor.

First, a bit of background on this village, located on Lower River Road across the Ohio River from Rising Sun, Ind. Don Clare, the president of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, tells this much via the official Rabbit Hash web site (

“This area of Boone County, Kentucky, can trace its settlement as a rural community back to around 1813. ... It was established in order to transport people, livestock, and farm products across the river to the opposite shore of Rising Sun.

“A group of local farmers got together and built a storehouse on the Rabbit Hash bank. This storehouse was managed and then eventually owned and operated by a single proprietor, James A. Wilson, at age 17 in 1831. It has been in continuous operation ever since, with very little change, and has historically been known as the Rabbit Hash General Store.”

Citizens here will tell you there are no Red states, there are no Blue states. Mayors — even ceremonial ones — aren’t elected based on the color of their politics, or the color of their skin (or even the color of their fur). Canine candidates must earn their way into the hallowed halls of Town Hall, or risk winding up in the dog house.

While you’d think a rabbit would run in this, of all towns, amazingly, that hasn’t happened. Cats and donkeys, yes, but no rabbits in Rabbit Hash.

Among the candidates this time ’round are:

• Cletus, a bull mastiff owned by Denise Michael

• Izzie, a boxer/lab mix owned by Teri Heist

• Higgins, a miniature donkey owned by historian Clare

• Lucy Lou, a border collie owned by Bobbie Kayser

• Macy, an Ibizan hound owned by Joe Messina

• Manson, a border collie mix owned by Michael McKeever

• Molly, a boxer owned by D.J. Urso

• Noggin, a spaniel owned by Nancy Booker and Mike Haskins

• Pike, a Chihuahua mix owned by Amy Engelman and Gary Hinds

• Rembrandt, a St. Bernard owned by Bob Schrage

• Travis, a cat owned by Terrie Markesberry

• Toby, a springer spaniel owned by Chris Lustenberg

In the interest of full disclosure, Izzie — who also goes by Isabella Pearl — was recently implicated in a rather scandalous incident of barn prowling and general lawlessness. And Pike, who reportedly is already tired of the dog and pony show of the political realm, has rumors dogging him about the ladies.

If all this isn’t enough to give you paws, town officials are actually letting outsiders join the vote, at a buck a vote. Bark once to vote yes, twice to vote no.

I don’t have a dog in this race, but it’s worth pointing out that a town could do far worse than having an animal for a mayor. Dogs are too trustworthy to take bribes (well, OK, there was that unfortunate business about the Iams treats). And Junior did come under some scrutiny from the Northern Kentucky Health Department about running rampant in the Rabbit Hash General Store.

All this is history. Junior’s legacy should not be tarnished. It’s time to move on and elect a worthy successor.

So watch the polls closely on Election Day. As goes Rabbit Hash, so could go the state and nation. To the dogs.■Junior Cochran, the late mayor of Rabbit Hash