When John Hickenlooper first ran for Denver mayor, he separated himself from the pack with campaign commercials that displayed a quality rare among politicians -- a sense of humor. And he appears to be taking the same tack in his bid for governor.
Exhibit A is a donation-soliciting e-mail sent to folks on his list yesterday; see it below. The missive features Hick standing by an out-of-gas jalopy and asking, "When vultures start circling, that's bad right?"
The message, which also mentions ominous coyotes, was intended to scare up $4,254 -- enough to reach a $30,000 goal for the reporting period -- by a midnight Sunday deadline. And as additional incentive, there's this passage: "With your help, we can do this. If we meet our goal for the quarter, we'll be able to campaign our way, running up the odometer and talking with every Coloradan we can. And we won't run negative ads. Heck, we might even be funny every now and then."
Did the prospect of Hickenlooper winding up as a roadside snack help him hit his number? Campaign spokesman George Merritt says, "We're still working those out. But it looks good, I can tell you that."
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As for the tone of the e-mail, Merritt notes: "John has encouraged us to value people's time. If we are going to send out a personal e-mail, we want people to get something, however small, in return. Plus, we're all having a ton of fun with it.
"We're conscious of the fact that folks are getting a lot of e-mails from politicians these days," he adds. "So if we're going to take their time, we want to do something that's entertaining."
It's called counter-programming -- and it'll be fascinating to see if it works on a statewide level as well as it did in Denver. Here's the complete e-mail:
Sorry to bother you on a Sunday, but I've been on the side of the road for the last few days, and I have to ask you: When vultures start circling, that's bad right?
I've seen enough movies to know these buzzards think I'm a goner. The good news is that before my phone went dead, my finance director called to tell me we're only $4,254 away from meeting our $30,000 goal.
Hang tight, she said.
Well I'm hanging, but we've only got a few hours before the reporting deadline tonight -- and we just need $4,254 to meet our goal!
With your help, we can do this. If we meet our goal for the quarter, we'll be able to campaign our way, running up the odometer and talking with every Coloradan we can. And we won't run negative ads. Heck, we might even be funny every now and then.
P.S. All kidding aside, this is a big deadline for us, and we can't thank you enough for your generosity and support.