Tom Benton was deeply devoted to the political movement and designed his first campaign posters for Edwards’ campaign. Although Edwards lost by 6 votes, the campaign was notable for its attempt to garner nearly all of its support from ‘freaks’, ‘heads’, and ‘dropouts’ from the surrounding areas – Freak Power, as it was dubbed.
Below is an excerpt from Thompson’s article in the Rolling Stone. Thompson mentions Benton when referring to Edwards’ supporters at local polling stations on election day.
“What were they doing out here at dawn, in the midst of this menacing mob? What indeed? Bugsy (The incumbent mayor) scurried inside to meet Guido, but instead ran into Tom Benton, the hairy artist and known radical…Benton was grinning like a crocodile and waving a small black microphone, saying: ”Welcome, Buggsy. You’re late, The voters are waiting outside…Yes, did you see them out there? Were they friendly? And if you wonder what I’m doing here, I’m Joe Edwards’ poll watcher…and the reason I have this little black machine here is that I want to tape every word you say when you start committing felonies by harassing our voters…” – Rolling Stone, October 1, 1970.
Benton later created another poster for Edwards’ successful campaign for Pitkin County Commissioner in 1972. During his career, Benton designed over 50 campaign posters for candidates including Bill Noonan, Ned Vare, Gary Hart, George McGovern, Willie Brown, and Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis.