• Reuters

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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 Tuesday.

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, 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,” he said.

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