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Colorado: Gonzo Widow Mulls ‘Freak Power’ Revival

By on 10.8.09 | 2:11PM

Hunter S. Thompson's widow says she may consider a campaign for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colo., a development that could provoke fear and loathing in Aspen, where real-estate developers have long dreaded a return of the late "gonzo" journalist's infamous 1970 "Freak Power" politics.

Anita Thompson said in an exclusive interview Wednesday that she is being urged to seek the office by current Sheriff Bob Braudis, who is up for re-election in 2010 discussed the possibility of retirement in an interview last month with the Independent, a British newspaper.

"I'll have to talk to Bob," Mrs. Thompson, 36, told the American Spectator when asked about her possible future in politics. "The Aspen Disease is spreading in Pitkin County, almost out to Woody Creek."

Sheriff Braudis was a personal friend of Hunter Thompson, a Kentucky native and author of Hell's Angels, whose later books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas defined the intensely personal style he called "gonzo."

Thompson was 64 in April 2003 when he married his second wife, Anita Bejmuk, who had been his editorial assistant. His death in February 2005, at age 67, is believed to have been suicide.

In August, Thompson's widow completed her bachelor's degree at Columbia University in New York and returned to the rustic cabin in Woody Creek, Colo., that her late husband dubbed Owl Farm.

"I'm sitting here with my Siamese cat in my lap, looking out the window at the Rocky Mountains," Mrs. Thompson said during a telephone interview Wednesday morning. She was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton's 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, although she endorsed Barack Obama's candidacy after Mrs. Clinton's defeat. Discussing the new president's foreign policy, she said of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Most Woody Creekers want out completely."

Of her potential campaign for Pitkin County sheriff, Mrs. Thompson suggested she might use the "Freak Power" posters from her husband's notorious 1970 third-party bid for the office. During that campaign, Thompson shaved his head so he could call the crewcut conservative incumbent as "my long-haired opponent" and authored a platform that promised: "Rip up all city streets with jackhammers and sod the streets at once."

Since 2005, Anita Thompson has authored a book, The Gonzo Way, edited a magazine called The Woody Creeker, blogged for the Huffington Post, operated her own Owl Farm Blog, and has considered attending law school if she does not run for sheriff.

"I'll always have Hunter in my heart," Mrs. Thompson said, when asked about how she has coped with her husband's death. "But I have lots of friends, so I'm never lonely."

CLARIFICATION (2:45 pm.): Mrs. Thompson wishes it to be known that the suggestion of her seeking the office held by her friend Sheriff Braudis "has been a running joke for five years, just because of the posters."

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