A Gallatin man who made national headlines when state wildlife officials confiscated his pet raccoon last year has announced he is running for governor.
Mark “Coonrippy” Brown, 55, pulled a petition for the office on Friday with intentions to challenge incumbent Gov. Bill Haslam in the Republican primary in August.
“This is all about the raccoon,” Brown said.
Brown gained national attention in July following the seizure of his pet raccoon, Rebekah, by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials. Brown claimed he was targeted by the agency after videos of him with another raccoon, Gunshow, went viral. His quest to regain ownership of Rebekah was eventually featured on CNN when he appeared on the Anderson Cooper 360 RidicuList in August.
Brown said his letter to TWRA officials seeking a permit went unanswered and a petition to Haslam with over 60,000 signatures was returned unopened.
“Gov. Haslam ignored the cries from the entire United States,” he said.
The licensed firearms dealer and former city of Gallatin employee said he’s not deterred by his lack of political experience and hopes to capitalize on his outsider status.
“We’ve got to take this country back one state at a time,” he said. “We live in the United States of the Offended — not the United States of America.”
I signed that petition, and many of you are probably familiar with the gif of him dancing with Gunshow that went viral on Tumblr. More about the original story here.