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Dorset's political dynasty over: No 3rd term for 5-year-old mayor


When you've held office nearly half your life, you're probably entitled to tear up a little when you reach the end of the political road.

But by all accounts 5-year-old Bobby Tufts took it well when he learned he'd be turning over the title of mayor of Dorset to Eric Mueller.

Bobby has already known the honor of having his name drawn from a bucket when the north central Minnesota town of about 25 residents selects its mayor during its annual summer festival. Nominating slips are purchased for one dollar. And the mayor's office – in case you hadn't figured it out – is ceremonial.

MinnPost reports Bobby's name was in the bucket again this year but family members did not actively campaign for a third term. His mother, Emma Tufts, tells MinnPost Bobby stayed busy during Taste of Dorset by pursuing his top mayoral priority: collecting canned goods to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House.

But while Bobby may have been matter-of-fact about the result, word of the turnover in the mayor's office quickly spread around the world.

Of course, the past two summers news of a 3-year-old becoming mayor of a small town in Minnesota ... and of a 4-year-old getting re-elected was repeated far and wide.

And who is it who's brought Bobby's mayorship to an end? 16-year-old Eric Mueller lives in Mendota Heights but made a name for himself in Dorset this summer by downing five servings of fried ice cream during a visit to Dorset House family restaurant. MinnPost says Mueller's family launched an "Eric for Mayor" campaign during the long dessert.

Dorset House, by the way, is just one of several restaurants in the town near Park Rapids. That's what's behind Dorset's claim to be – on a per capita basis – the Restaurant Capital of the World and spawned its annual food fest.

So what were the highlights of the Bobby Tufts administration?

Well, an introductory interview with WCCO when Bobby was new to mayoring and the media remains a classic. He professes his love for ice cream and fishing, and ends with a rousing "Howdy pardner" aboard a coin-operated horse.

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But our favorite comes from Bobby's second term. An MSNBC interviewer and Emma Tufts tried valiantly to keep Bobby engaged in a discussion of his recent re-election. But sometimes a 4-year-old is just not interested.

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There's one other potential wrinkle in Dorset's political future. Bobby has a 2-year-old brother, James. Stay tuned.

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