Vol. 2, Issue 20, May 18, 2004
Elmo Declares Run For Congress
Popular television personality and longtime education activist Elmo has announced he is running for Congress.
"Elmo has spent a lot of time talking about making schools better," said the red furry muppet at a press conference outside the Sesame Workshop headquarters in Manhattan. "But Elmo thinks it is time to go to Washington now."
Elmo will be running against Representative Peter King (R) in New York's 3rd Congressional District, which includes part of Nassau and Suffolk county on Long Island. King, a rare Republican in Democrat-dominated New York, is a maverick congressman known for his outspoken support of President Bush and strong foreign policy stances.
The announcement came as a surprise to analysts, who were not expecting any serious opposition to King.
"Peter King is very popular in his district," warned New York University political science professor Jack Greenway. "He's in his sixth term now, and got over 73% of the vote in the last election. His constituents really like his strong support of tax cuts and the fact that he doesn't hesitate to denigrate European countries who oppose U.S. foreign policy.
"However," Greenway added, "education issues are not his strongest area. And if anyone can take him on, Elmo can. I mean, he's virtually immune to attack ads. He's Elmo, for crying out loud."
King has received consistently low marks from the National Education Association over the years, a factor which will undoubtedly help the diminutive Elmo in his unprecedented run for office. Elmo has used his airtime on the public broadcasting network program Sesame Street to advocate educational reform for nearly twenty years. In 2002, he made national headlines when he testified before the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more spending on music research and musical instruments for school programs.
"Elmo wants to make sure that the boys and girls have nice classrooms and books, and that their teachers are appropriately qualified to teach in their respective disciplines using the inquiry-based methodology recommended by Elmo's good friends at the National Research Council," said the furry candidate.
Congressman King's office refused to comment for this story, stating only that "there's a height requirement for Congress, and Elmo doesn't cut it." When this reporter pointed out that there is no such requirement and that such a statement could be construed as biased, King's office replied that we were "one of them" and hung up on us.
Like most public broadcasting network personalities, Elmo has no official political affiliation, and consequently is running as an independent. However, the Democratic National Committee was quick to note that it would readily support Elmo in his congressional bid, whether or not he joined the Democratic party.
"To get Peter King out of office, we would give money to nearly anyone eligible to run," said DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe, "including a puppet."
The fact that Elmo is not actually a person has raised some questions about his eligibility, but surprisingly the White House has gone on record as supporting his ability to run for office.
"I don't see anything wrong with electing a puppet to office," said President Bush. "Do I, Dick?"