It takes a special kind of person to hold public office, at any level of the government. It also takes a special kind of person to be a superhero. Someone who could wake up one morning with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men (and women). It is no surprise, then, that many superheroes have at one time or another heeded the call to public service at the local, state and national levels. Here are just a few superheroes who have held elected office.
Superman- President of the United States
This has actually happened twice in the comics. The first time Superman was elected President of the United States was in an alternate future during the Armageddon 2001 event that ran through the DC Universe Annuals (as well as a two-part bookend series) in 1991. In the story appearing in Action Comics Annual #3, Clark Kent was picked by his childhood friend Pete Ross (who did end up being Vice President under Lex Luthor in the main DC continuity) to be his campaign manager in his run for President. During an assassination attempt, Clark ran in front of Pete and when the bullets shredded his suit (but not his skin), revealing the red and blue tights underneath, he was publicly outed as Superman. Pete, too injured from the assassination attempt to continue running, asked Clark to run for him. Thus, Superman was elected President, because let's be honest here, who isn't going to vote for Superman? The second Superman to hold the highest office in the world was Calvin Ellis, the Superman of Earth-23. Based on real-life President of the United States, Barack Obama, and first appearing in Final Crisis #7, This Superman is actually the President in his secret identity.
Green Arrow- Mayor of Star City
After the events of Infinite Crisis, Oliver Queen was elected Mayor of his hometown, Star (yes Star, not Starling) City. Unfortunately, Oliver didn't stay Mayor for very long as he was forced to resign amid a scandal that he was secretly funding the Outsiders, essentially a team of bounty hunters. Oliver also wasn't very popular with voters, never having more than a 50% approval rating at any given time. While Oliver Queen, arguably the most openly political of all superheroes and certainly an activist for his political beliefs, would seem to be a perfect fit for political office, it wasn't meant to be in the comics, and to be honest, holding public office would make it pretty difficult to continue his crusade as Green Arrow, so the only way to really make it work long term would be to retire Green Arrow from the DCU. It would be interesting, though, if they ever tried to do this on Arrow, just to see what the show's writers could do with the concept.
Captain America- President of the United States
Much like Superman, Captain America seems like a no-brainer as the perfect candidate to hold the highest office in the land. Steve Rogers is a war hero, he's very much governed by his sense of morality and duty, he loves his country. He's everything you could ever hope for in a President. While Cap has thought about running for President on several occasions, he never actually has in the main Earth-616 Marvel universe. He has, however, been President twice in different alternate realities. The first time was in What If? #26, titled "What if Captain America Had Been Elected President?" This story is an alternate take on the events of Captain America #250, when Cap was asked to run for President. He ultimately declined the nomination, but in the What If story he runs and is elected. A few years ago, in Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #15, Ultimate Captain America was also elected President of the United States in the Ultimate Universe. Ultimate Cap also appointed Carol Danvers as his Chief of Staff.
The Flash (Jay Garrick)- Mayor of Monument Point
When the post-Crisis DC continuity came to an end in favor of the New 52, the company's first hard reboot since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths (although several characters had been given retcons and soft reboots in the intervening years), there were a few titles which were actually given proper endings. "Grounded" by J. Michael Straczynski served as an end for the Superman character, and "The Secret History of Monument Point" was an end for the Justice Society of America. In this story, Jay Garrick is elected Mayor of Monument Point and moves the JSA there en masse. Unfortunately, not a lot came of the golden age Flash being Mayor, because this was the JSA's final story and four issues after being elected Mayor the series ended and the DCU was rebooted into the DCNu, officially known as the New 52 universe.
Batgirl- United States House of Representatives
Back in the 1970s Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl, was elected Congresswoman, and interestingly enough, Dick Grayson was a political intern. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the opportunity was ripe for a political thriller sort of superhero story, with Batgirl uncovering government corruption and unscrupulous politicians. Unfortunately, that isn't what happened. Mostly the opportunity was squandered and Batgirl being a Congresswoman only didn't really accomplish anything than making Washington DC the backdrop for her adventures, instead of Gotham City.
The idea of a superhero who is also an elected official is an interesting one, and while comic book writers have flirted with the idea, no one has ever really gone whole hog on the subject. I still believe there is a lot of opportunity there for a writer ballsy enough to do it, and clever enough to make it work, but we may never really see it come to fruition. Maybe Arrow will explore the Oliver as Mayor idea in a future season, we shall have to wait and see. These were just a few examples, and there are many more out there, such as Iron Man being Secretary of Defense just prior to and during the events of Avengers: Disassembled. Some of these stories are actually quite interesting, if mostly brief, and I highly recommend checking some of them out. Especially Action Comics Annual #3, which is still to this day one of the best Elseworlds Superman stories I've ever read.