Mike "Coonrippy" Brown's gubernatorial candidacy is pretty much a one-platform affair: "It's all about the raccoon," he tells the Tennessean. In July, Tennessee officials seized Brown's pet raccoon, Rebekah; he says he was targeted following a viral video featuring him and another raccoon. He wrote a letter to officials to try to get a permit, but he received no reply, he says. Meanwhile, he's received a groundswell of support: Some 60,000 people signed a petition to Gov. Bill Haslam on behalf of Brown and Rebekah.
Haslam never opened the petition; instead, it was sent back, Brown says, but the effort earned him a place on Anderson Cooper's RidicuList. "Gov. Haslam ignored the cries from the entire United States," Brown says. "All eyes were on Tennessee and it made us look bad. It made it look like we were under Caesar’s law." Now, the gun dealer is running for office to "expose the people in office who are not for the people." He plans a primary challenge to Haslam, a Republican. "We’ve got to take this country back one state at a time," Brown says. "We live in the United States of the Offended—not the United States of America."