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‘FAHRENHEIT’ CROWDS WARM TO CANDIDATES – DEM DA HOPEFULS FIND SYMPATHETIC AUDIENCE AT THEATERS

‘FAHRENHEIT’ CROWDS WARM TO CANDIDATES – DEM DA HOPEFULS FIND SYMPATHETIC AUDIENCE AT THEATERS

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Thursday, July 1, 2004
Author/Byline: Kim Nguyen, Rocky Mountain News
Staff writer Clayton Woullard contributed to this report
Edition: Final
Section: City Desk/Local
Page: 14A
If prosecutor Mitch Morrissey wasn’t running for Denver district attorney, he would be a strong candidate for the position of movie theater usher.

Morrissey, a chief deputy district attorney under District Attorney Bill Ritter, has taken a different approach in his campaign to win votes.

He was in front of the Chez Artiste and Esquire theaters last weekend and earlier this week to talk to, and help, moviegoers waiting in line to see Fahrenheit 9/11.

Rival Beth McCann also was trolling for votes this week at theaters where the movie is playing.

Morrissey is battling McCann and John Walsh in the Aug. 10 Democratic primary election. There is no Republican in the race.

“You bought a ticket? Well, you want to go here then,” Morrissey said at the Esquire. “And I could really use your help this primary.”

Morrissey said he targeted the moviegoers because he expected most of them to be Democratic voters. He will continue to visit the theaters through the rest of the week.

He got the idea when his campaign manager saw Mike Carrigan, who is running for the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, outside theaters talking to people during the opening last week of Fahrenheit 9/11.

The movie, directed by filmmaker Michael Moore, is a documentary critical of the Bush administration during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and subsequent war in Iraq.

Denver resident Dave Schilling said Tuesday night he didn’t know who Morrissey or his opponents were, but he wasn’t surprised that a politician was asking for his vote at the Esquire.

“This movie is so politically activated,” said Schilling, 25. “He knows where his audience is and what it appeals to.”

Matthew Pierce, of Denver, said Morrissey’s face-to-face contact with him is effective in winning support.

“I think it works better than him being on TV,” he said.

Pierce, 27, said he is not affiliated to a political party, but he will be voting Democratic in the upcoming election.

That’s why you could find candidates at the theaters showing Moore’s movie.

“We’re basically doing this because it is low-dollar race,” said Lynea Hansen, McCann’s campaign manager. “We’ve taken a grass-roots approach to reach people.”

McCann, a former city safety manager and currently a deputy in the attorney general’s office, and her volunteers have also been going to as many Democratic events as possible.

“If there are Democrats gathering in one spot, you’ll find a McCann supporter there,” Hansen said.

Walsh, a practicing attorney and a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, is not heading to the theaters.

Instead, he is sticking to residential areas, attending neighborhood meet-and-greets on weekends.

The hour-long events, which are held at homes of volunteers and voters, are a chance for people to talk to Walsh face to face, said Walsh campaign manager Danielle Radovich Piper.

“This race is so far down the ticket that so many people haven’t been engaged yet,” she said. “The more people John meets, the more they get excited for him.”

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