It caused more than few eyes to roll when it was announced last month that Gov. Jerry Brown would dispatch his pet dog to visit Democratic field offices on behalf of Proposition 30, Brown's initiative to raise taxes.
But it was inexpensive, as campaign activities go, and it required no time of Brown's. Jennifer Fearing, of the Humane Society of the United States, would tour Sutter, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, around.
The press swooned.
Television and light newspaper coverage was abundant. In one city, Fearing said, Sutter "got the key to the city from the mayor - on a live shot!" As she arrived with Sutter at a campaign party this evening at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Fearing said the two had logged 3,200 miles.
On Sunday, the Democratic governor had finished a series of campaign stops in Los Angeles when he was asked about the dog's involvement in the race.
"I think there are a lot of people who like animals, more than you think," Brown said. "And I also think there's a certain human quality that it adds ... in a campaign world which is very mechanical, driven by polls, focus groups and scripted commercials, to have an element of spontaneity."
There are certain liabilities that a politician accepts when he appoints an animal to be his surrogate, interacting with people on live television. But Sutter is exceedingly well behaved.
It may also be true, as Brown said, that "his favorability ratings are higher than mine."
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown and first dog, Sutter Brown, promote sales of specialty license plates in Los Angeles on May 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)