DENVER A jackass will play a prominent role when Democrats meet in August to nominate their presidential candidate.
Mordecai, a 7-year-old donkey, bested nine other hopefuls on Saturday in a contest to become the official live mascot for the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
As a tie-in to the convention, the donkey pageant was held during the mule and donkey show at the National Western Stock Show, an annual Colorado event where livestock and horse ranchers gather to buy and sell breeding stock.
Sen. Ken Salazar and other Democratic dignitaries served as judges.
Before the contest began, Leah Daughtry, another contest judge and chief executive of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said she was looking for "traits our candidate will have also -- the right amount of vigor and energy, a cool temper but feisty when you need to be."
In 1828, opponents of Andrew Jackson called him a "jackass" for his populist candidacy, according to the Democratic National Committee's Web site (www.democrats.org). Jackson turned the tables by using the donkey on his campaign posters. Decades later, famed political cartoonist Thomas Nast used the beast to represent some Democratic viewpoints in his cartoons and the mascot stuck.
After 10 youths paraded the contestants around the arena, the judges held their caucus and reached a unanimous decision.
As if to show he was ready for prime time, Mordecai took a bow and rolled in the dirt before the vote was announced.
Mordecai's owner, Curtis Imrie, a two-time Democratic congressional candidate from southwestern Colorado, said his donkey will do the Democrats proud.
"He'll be the party animal of the party, now that he's the official 'asscot,'" Imrie said.