Robert Tufts, The 5-Year-Old Mayor Of Dorset, Minnesota, Was Just Ousted From Power
Just last week, one Minnesota town was run by a rookie politician whose main platform agenda involved ice cream — and the citizens loved him. Five-year-old Robert Tufts was elected mayor when he was only 3 and barely out of his diapers. After a solid run that saw peace and continued prosperity in his town, the pint-size leader was ousted on Sunday by 16-year-old Eric Mueller. You may be wondering, "Just what kind of town would allow a toddler and a high school kid to run the place?" Welcome to Dorset, Minnesota.
Tufts was elected mayor in August 2012 after a grueling campaign that cost him an entire dollar.
"He ran an actual campaign," Tufts' mother, Emma, told NBC's Today. "All the waitresses at the Dorset House and some at Campaneros were wearing buttons with his campaign picture that said, 'Vote for Bobby!' and we had posters all over town. I don't know how many votes he had in the hat, but a lot of the customers were voting him in."
The strategy seemed to work, since the mayor is picked by randomly pulling a name out of a hat and the more times your name gets thrown in there, the better your chances are. Yes, that is the electoral process in Dorset. But that's not the strangest thing about this little town, and when we say little, we mean little.
Just how little? Dorset has an estimated population of 22 people, which at times has fluctuated to as low as nine and as high as 28. The resort town is an unincorporated community in Hubbard County run by local business owners. According to the town's official site, "thousands of people visit Dorset Minnesota each year" because it is "small-town friendly" with "streets ... lined with boardwalks" and "casual porch swings and flower baskets." Sounds like the definition of quaint.
Restaurant Capital of the World
Hold up, but Dorset is also known as the "Restaurant Capital of the World"? Not New York City? That's because with four restaurants in a town of 22 people, that might be the most restaurants per capita anywhere in the world. To put it in perspective, Bloomberg ranked San Francisco as the city with the most eateries per capita this year, with a ratio of 21.44 eateries per 10,000 population, which is equal to .047 eateries per 22 population. Dorset beats that paltry ratio by almost 100 times.
Each year on the first Sunday of August, the town holds the Taste of Dorset, a festival featuring food, games, and entertainment along the town's main street. The annual mayoral election is held during the Taste of Dorset.
Anybody — or Anything — Can Run For Mayor
Perhaps what sets Dorset apart from other towns the most is its political process. Besides people too young to vote in real elections, past mayoral candidates have included a rooster, which, according to CBS Minnesota, had a promising run until a black lab got to it.
Tufts, the town's most recent mayor, leaves behind a memorable legacy that will be hard to match. "Mostly it's just going to daycare and schmoozing with the girls," his mother, Emma, told ABC. And Tufts will surely miss being in office, which came with some impressive benefits. "His biggest perks are that he gets to give hugs and gets lots of free ice cream," Emma told Today.
Now that 16-year-old Mueller is about to take office, Tufts has offered some sage parting words. "It was fun, but it's time to pass on the vote," he told the Associated Press. He also added that he'd like to see his brother as mayor of Dorset one day. "I'm gonna let James do it. He's 2."