Santa Claus Is Running for City Council in North Pole

Santa Claus is coming to town — council. 

Unlike the original Kris Kringle, this Claus notes in all capital letters on his Facebook page, "Please do not send me requests for presents."

Instead, as the North Pole Clerk's office announced on Thursday, Claus is running for election to North Pole's city council. The former local chamber of commerce president is running for one of two open seats for city council, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Due to his late filing, voters will need to write in his name to cast their votes.

Claus, however, isn't worried that people won't remember his name at the ballot.

"Pretty easy to remember and pretty easy to spell," Claus said on Friday. "Even if they spell it C-L-A-U-S-E, I asked the city council and they said they'd still count it."

Thomas O'Connor legally changed his name in 2005 while living in Washoe County, Nevada. He decided that the unconventional name would help his work in child advocacy. He moved to North Pole, Alaska, shortly after changing his name.

The name change is a "useful tool" for his volunteer work in order to get media outlets to pay attention to his actions, he said. 

"It helps me persuade state and federal legislators to support, draft, co-sponsor and pass legislation related to child abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment, homelessness and institutionalization," Claus said.

North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward remarked that he doesn't know Claus well since he only moved to the community a few years ago. He's pleased, however, that Claus running for council.

"We found out about his candidacy yesterday," Ward said. "Filing actually opened back in August. We've had a bit of a drought as far as candidates this year, so I'm definitely excited to see someone run for council."

Ward added that he "definitely does have a unique name. That's for sure." 

The current president of the North Pole chamber of commerce did not immediately return calls for comment about his predecessor.  

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