Are you a Tennessean who loves 'coons? If so, Mark "Coonrippy" Brown should be your pick for governor. Brown was inspired to enter the political fray when state wildlife officials took away his pet raccoon.
Brown is running on a pretty narrow platform.
"This Is All About the Raccoon"
Gun control? Nah. Abortion? Meh. Raccoons? Now we're talkin'!
"This is all about the raccoon," Brown said.
Since July, Brown's been fighting to regain custody of his pet raccoon Rebekah after wildlife officials went to his home and confiscated her. Brown said his letter to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials seeking a permit went unanswered and a petition to Gov. Bill Haslam with over 60,000 signatures was returned unopened, reports The Tennessean.
Revealing a flair for the dramatic (and a promising future as a politician), Brown passionately exclaimed, "Governor Haslam ignored the cries from the entire United States."
How could the state of Tennessee be so heartless? (Spoiler alert: Because it doesn't want you to get rabies.)
Lions and Tigers and Laws, Oh My!
Brown rescued Rebekah when she was born and bottle-fed her back to health. Pretty adorable, right? Sadly, as touching as his story -- and viral videos -- are, Brown's raccoon rescue didn't comply with state law.
Under both Tennessee and federal law, it's illegal to keep wild animals as pets, including injured or orphaned ones. Only Wildlife Rehabilitators who are licensed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency can keep animals until they can be released back into the wild. This is because wild animals require special diets and care, and they pose hidden dangers such as the risk of disease to people. Raccoons also carry not-so-hidden dangers such as being unpredictably vicious and sneaky bandits.
Down on his 'coon luck, Brown now believes the only way he can get his little bandit buddy back is by going toe-to-toe in the political jungle against incumbent Gov. Haslam in the Republican primary in August, reports the Tennessean.
Considering the surprising success of previous wild pet publicity stunts, Brown may just get Rebekah back. To kick off his campaign and up (the adorable) ante, maybe Brown should enlist the help of Cinderella's furry cohorts to sew him a suit and construct an American flag pin.