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New Exhibit Remembers Hunter S. Thompson's Campaign For Sheriff

A new exhibit at the Aspen Historical Society commemorates Hunter S Thompson’s controversial campaign for Sheriff.

As Pitkin voters are marking their ballots, the Aspen Historical Society launches an exhibit commemorating this particularly memorable election.


In 1970, writer Hunter S Thompson launched his campaign for Sheriff of Pitkin County. It was part of the Freak Power Campaign: An attempt to elevate the counterculture to positions of power in local government.

DJ Watkins, who runs the Gonzo Gallery in town, worked with Aspen Historical Society to co-curate the exhibit.  He said issues raised in the campaign are still familiar topics.

“We really have him to thank for making Aspen the special place that it is today,” said Watkins.

While Thompson’s campaign was unsuccessful, several of his ideas - like legal marijuana and preserving open space - persist in local politics. His platform also included removing all of Aspen’s roads and changing the town’s name to “Fat City.” The Hotel Jerome’s J Bar served as campaign headquarters.

The Freak Power exhibit showcases posters, pins and other campaign paraphernalia from Thompson’s short-lived political career. The grand opening on is on the June 20.