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The D.C. Statehood Green Party’s sunflower mascot may have been denied a place among the Party Animals, but the statehood cause still found its way into the project: a statue promoting the District’s political empowerment is the hottest item in the online-only portion of the Party Animals auction.
Grand Old Pachyderm —an elephant-cum-flag, with a red-and-white-striped body and a blue head, back, and feet covered with white stars—was priced at $1,650 at press time, $500 more than the next-highest entry. Though Grand Old Pachyderm may look like a conventional Republican mascot, artist Gary Jameson points out that the elephant has 51 stars on it, in a nod to the District’s campaign for statehood.
“The statehood decision kind of falls along party lines,” explains Jameson, a landscape artist from North Beach, Md. “That I would use a Republican symbol [in] advocacy for statehood—I just thought it was an opportunity to make a statement, to make people think about it.”
At least one of the bidders on Grand Old Pachyderm, though, paid more attention to the medium than the message: Rob Carter, finance chair of the Maryland Republican Party, says it was merely one of “five or six” elephant statues that he bid on. “I chose the ones that struck me as something that would be fun and attractive if it were in my house,” Carter says. “If I were to win a politically oriented one, I could see schlepping it to political fundraisers as a novelty thing.”
Carter dropped out of the bidding for Grand Old Pachyderm when the price went above $1,200. It was the cost, not that 51st star, that put him off, he says. Had he won the statue, though, he would not have changed his views on the District’s political status. “As we have it currently,” he says, “all is well—no reason for D.C. statehood. Can you imagine Tony Williams as governor?” —Josh Levin