The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

August 4, 2013

4-year-old mayor is re-elected in northern Minn.

DORSET — Robert "Bobby" Tufts hasn't made it to preschool yet, but he's already been elected twice as mayor of a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota.

Mayor Tufts' name was picked Sunday during annual Taste of Dorset festival to be mayor of Dorset for a second term. It has no formal city government and has a population of 22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town.

Anyone could vote as many times as they like — for $1 a vote — at any of the ballot boxes in stores around town. The proceeds go toward organizing the festival.

Bobby was only 3 when he won election last year. His mother, Emma Tufts, said she and her son, who turns 5 in October, got choked up when his name was pulled for re-election Sunday.

The boy picked a random man out of the crowd to pick the name out of a clear tub. and the man was blindfolded twice, she said.

While this was happening, Bobby told the crowd how to musky fish, she said.

"He's been going since 3 o'clock yesterday with cameras on his face," she said Sunday afternoon. "He's having a long day but he's done really well. I'm surprised."

Asked how he felt during a phone interview, a tired Bobby made clear he was done answering questions. "I want to be with the boys," he told his mother.

They were on their way to dinner and then planned to go fishing or have a bonfire to celebrate. Bobby, of nearby Nevis, starts preschool this fall.

Emma Tufts said her son's agenda includes raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley in Fargo, N.D., and a new welcome sign for Dorset, which bills itself as the Restaurant Capital of the World.

They already raised $750 from a walk this summer and planned to donate half the proceeds of Sunday's T-shirt sales to the charity. He wants to do a snowshoe scavenger hunt this winter to raise money, she said.

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