Leelanau News and Events

Sweet Tart The Cat Running Again For Omena’s Mayor

By Emily Tyra | July 9, 2021

The fifth race for Omena, Michigan’s non-human mayor kicks off July 10 at 9am. Only Omena animals — which in past election years have included a goat, a peacock, a chicken, along with a variety of dogs and cats — may run as candidates. (Votes can come from anywhere and everywhere — cast votes and keep tabs on the results here.) 

In 2018, for the last race, the news of a Norwegian Forest cat named Sweet Tart McKee becoming mayor of this Northern Michigan village reached people across the U.S. and Great Britain, Australia and even Vietnam.

Omena resident and Sweet Tart’s parent Kanda McKee tells the Leelanau Ticker Sweet Tart is running again in 2021.

“Sweet Tart was found on the TART Trail on Sweetest Day,” says McKee. “Hence the name Sweet Tart,” also a nod to the cherries produced in Leelanau County. “She weighed a little over a pound and was a spitfire.” 

Over her three-year term, Sweet Tart attended all Omena Historical Society events, including the annual meetings. She led a parade on 2020 National Dog Day in Omena and marched in the 2018 and 2019 Northport Dog Parade, the first cat to ever participate.

“When she was elected, she became internationally known and was mentioned on Anderson Cooper’s show along with her Vice Presidents, Diablo and Punkin,” says McKee. “Her Press Secretary Harley, a goat, was also mentioned.” She had TV coverage in China, Vietnam, Canada, England, and all over the United States.

The mayor’s race was established in 2009 by Omena residents Dick and Nana Kennedy, as a light-hearted fundraiser for the Omena Historical Society, which is dedicated to helping to preserve the history of the area for visitors, resident, and future generations.

Volunteers encourage in-person and online voting, and stuffing the ballot box for the favorite candidate (or candidates). Each vote is $1. (Online voting starts with a $5 minimum vote.)

The 2021 candidates, along with photos and “credentials” can be viewed online and at the secure voting location in Omena in front of the Omena Historical Society Museum. The election information board will provide the running mates’ standings on a daily basis. This information will also be listed daily on Omena Historical Society’s website. There will be off-site voting opportunities at the Northport Farmers Market July 16 and July 23, with voting concluding Friday, July 23 at 5pm.


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