Santa Claus elected to North Pole City Council, no sign of reindeer

By Steve Quinn JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - A man with a soft white beard who prides himself on being an advocate for young children has been elected as a city councilman in North Pole, Alaska. The rosy-cheeked 68-year-old candidate, who happens to be named Santa Claus, won a three-year term in the community of about 2,200 residents southeast of Fairbanks, according to election results released on Tuesday. "My thanks to everyone who voted for me ... and all who supported my campaign," Claus wrote on Facebook. "I'll do my best for all!" Claus, who legally changed his name from Thomas Patrick O'Connor about a decade ago while living in Nevada, said he has been an advocate for legislation and services that benefit at-risk children. He could be seen in recent days wearing his trademark red velvet outfit and holding a campaign sign in North Pole, the namesake of the home of the legendary Christmas gift-giver. Claus was one of two write-in candidates for two vacant seats in the Oct. 6 election. He will take office on Oct. 26, North Pole City Clerk Kathy Weber said. In an interview with Reuters, Claus said that calling state lawmakers and saying: "This is Santa Claus from North Pole," either got their attention or a quick, though temporary, rejection. "It's been a valuable tool for developing legislation to protect children." (Reporting by Steve Quinn in Juneau; Editing by Eric M. Johnson and Peter Cooney)