It's election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the year-round residents who enjoy their rural way of life and the city dwellers who are moving into mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed-gate community - complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clotheslines.
When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees to the town's residents, David O'Callaghan, the chief of police, decides to make a statement - by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday's German shepherd, to run for mayor of Spencer!
What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight, Gnarly becomes the frontrunner, and his political opponents proceed to dig into the canine's past. When one of the mayoral candidates ends up dead, it becomes apparent that slinging mud is not enough for someone with a stake in this election.
With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang - including old friends from past cases - dive in to clear Gnarly's name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!