Thousands of Nevada Supporters
Put Me in Front, Claims Russo

by Steve Miller  
copyright 1997, Electric Nevada

Hollywood producer Aaron Russo is definitely going to seek the Nevada Governor's chair, he told Electric Nevada this week.
The only remaining question, he said, is whether he will run as a Republican.
Support in Nevada for his individual-freedom message is already so broad, asserted Russo, that he could also run, and win, as either an Independent or a Democrat.
"I have thousands and thousands of supporters already," he said. "And those supporters all want to work, they all want to volunteer."
Russo and his Nevada advisers, in separate interviews, emphasized the intensity of interest and support that each of his public appearances in the state have revealed.
"It was unbelievable," says Dennis Grover, a Gardnerville information services entrepreneur, referring to unexpectedly large crowds that showed up last year at Russo presentations in Reno and Las Vegas.
It was after seeing Russo's 'Mad as Hell'
videotape last year, says Grover, that "we got to be friends, and I said, 'Why don't you come up and meet a few people and put on'" a similar presentation?
At the Reno Sands, says Grover, he rented a small convention room.
"It was set up with a hundred chairs

and I was just praying we'd fill just 50 of them. And it just went completely nuts... We ended up with -- I don't know -- almost 300."
That was in May, said Grover. Then, a month later in Las Vegas. he says, it was the same, on a larger scale.
"The same thing happened there. We had the Showboat set up for 1000 people and it was overrun. I mean, it was unbelievable."
The overflow crowd ended up standing in back of the large room and around the edges, he says.
"The only people that got upset was the fire department. They came in and looked around and listened to him for a few minutes. Then they said, 'Well, we don't see anything here, and left.'"
"He just turns a good crowd," said Grover of Russo. "They just love him."
Russo himself says he was amazed in Vegas to find people plucking at him -- as he walked through the audience -- as though he was some kind of rock star.
And he believes the contrast with establishment candidates like former interim UNLV president Kenny Guinn, and Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, will be clear.
"Think about this," he challenged the reporter interviewing him. "Think what

would happen if Kenny Guinn went to the Pioneer Theater [in Reno] and said 'Come see me,' How many people would show up? There'd be five people in the audience.
"You think if Frankie Sue did it. And then watch what happens when I'm there.
"We're way ahead of anybody. We're not the underdog; we're the leader.
"That's what people have to realize," argues Russo. "I have thousands and thousands of supporters already. And those supporters all want to work, they all want to volunteer.
"So... I look at myself as the person who leads this campaign by miles. By miles. And they're going to have to catch me."
What will make that difficult for establishment candidates, he believes, is that the Russo campaign already has intensely loyal support at the grassroots.
"We have real people who want me to win," says Russo. "We have passion, we have compassion, we have people who are ready to put up money, people who are verbal about what they're doing with me, You know, we have people who are really totally supportive.
"It's like a whole new Perot thing happening -- but from a different point of view than Perot," he said.
As evidence of his broad, across- the-spectrum support, Russo cites a

recent visit to the Las Vegas NAACP chapter.
"I mean, when I went to the NAACP meeting the other night, they were wearing my ['Mad As Hell'] button. These are traditional Democrats," he emphasized.
"I mean, it was amazing -- it blew me away. I walked into the room, and I was shocked."
The button Russo referred to, 3
1/2 inches in diameter, is often given away with his 'Mad as Hell' video and bears the same slogan. On the accompanying videotape, much of the content has to do with the increasing victimization of innocent civilians by out-of-control state and federal law enforcement agencies.
"They shot that kid down in Las Vegas for no reason," said Russo, referring to a drive-by shooting recently by two Las Vegas policemen.
"It was disgusting. And police brutality is one place where conservatives and liberals get together. It's a meeting point."
Russo suggests that his unique background -- Jewish, Hollywood producer, a recipient of several NAACP awards -- allows him to be an especially effective advocate for individual freedom in the face of an increasingly oppressive and unaccountable government.

Many individuals who would be suspicious of traditional Republican spokesmen for libertarian or conservative positions, he suggests, can recognize him easily as a friend and natural ally.
The resulting pro-freedom coalition, therefore, is potentially quite broad, says Russo.
"One of the reasons why I would run as a Republican -- even though I don't think it allows me to get my full spectrum of votes -- is because the rank and file Republicans want me to run.
"The only guys who want Kenny

Guinn are the power brokers who want to control the guy. And that's what that's about.
"The rank and file don't care about Kenny Guinn. He led the 'Republicans for Bob Miller' campaign. So I mean, come on."

Originally booked for March, the Pioneer Theater kick-off in Reno for the Aaron Russo campaign has been pushed back until May 10. The postponement will allow both the printer and the post office extra time, campaign sources said.

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