Duke, Minnesota Mayor Dog, has died

Buddy the Great Pyrenees. Photo by Wesley Coburn
Buddy the Great Pyrenees. Photo by Wesley Coburn /

Minnesota saw the loss of a great statesman last week, as Duke the Mayor has passed away.

In Cormorant Village, a small town in western central Minnesota, a Great Pyrenees named Duke was elected mayor. And then re-elected. And re-elected again. And then once more, making the Mayor Dog the Franklin Delano Roosevelt of canine politics.

He retired last June, according to the Huffington Post, before passing away from old age last week. Duke was 13 in human years, which is about 80 in dog years.

He was memorialized by WeRateDogs, earning the very rare 15/10. (The math is figured using DoggoLingo.)

Duke was first elected mayor of Cormorant Village in 2014, local radio news station KFGO reported. KFGO serves the Fargo-Moorhead area.

His duties mainly consisted of being an ambassador for the town, which has a population of slightly over a thousand residents. Except for one vote cast for his girlfriend Lassie, Duke was unanimously re-elected in 2016, which is something not many public officials can claim.

Perhaps named after John Wayne, who often played the source of authority, maybe Duke was born for the position.

” He just kind of hangs out at the local pub and makes sure everything is runnin’ OK and keeps the riff-raff out and just oversees the whole works,” human deputy mayor Steven Sorenson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last year.

As it was purely a ceremonial position, Duke had no say over municipal funds, which on the negative side meant no extra treat funds, but on the plus side means that he was not able to cause a debacle like the Ice Town skating rink.

That’s the tragic backstory of accountant Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) from the beloved NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, who was elected mayor of his Minnesota hometown at the age of 18 and was tagged a “human disaster” ever after. (This is revealed in the season 3 episode “Go Big or Go Home.”)

Ben also came from a town named after a bird; Partridge, which viewers visit through the Parks episode of the same name (5.17). It actually exists, by the way, though it’s on the eastern side of the state and is presumably much nicer than the fictional version.

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Cormorant will put up a memorial for Duke outside the town hall later this spring.