Hank the Cat takes third place in whisker-thin VA Senate race

A third-party candidate grabbed 6,000 key votes from the leading contenders in the Virginia Senate race.

He was running on a pro-mouser jobs program.

Hank the Cat, a Maine Coon from suburban Washington, came in third place behind two former Virginia governors, Democrat Timothy Kaine - who at last count was ahead by 184,000 votes - and Republican George Allen in Tuesday's election.

As Scott Bomboy, writing for the Constitution Center Daily blog put it, an examination of the official voting ballot online shows that there apparently wasn’t a candidate from a known third party listed on the ballot below Kaine and Allen, unlike past years. There also isn’t a third-party candidate listed on the election board website among its election results.

Hank the Cat had been running for the U.S. Senate since last winter as a part of a spoof on the modern election process, even writing a campaign blog for The Huffington Post last month praising a cat running for office in Canada.

Hank even survived negative campaigning by a fake pro-dog super PAC. (We wonder if they used the birther charge, after all he is a Maine Coon.)

Bomboy notes the fact a feline candidate could potentially spoil a real race may be worth caterwauling about: A future president, Lyndon B. Johnson, won his first U.S. Senate race in Texas by 27 votes. And we all know how close the 2000 presidential race was in Florida.

But regardless of the outcome, needy cats and dogs will benefit from Hank's campaign: a D.C. website reports that Hank raised $60,000 for animal shelters.