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10/13/2009

Rights-stripping Mainers are feeling a lil' cash-strapped

by Jeremy Hooper

Ya know, it's one thing to be sour because your opposition has outfundraised you to the tune of $1.6 million. It's quite another to act as if your opposition is doing something to you by raising the excess of cash, when you are the ones who've declared war on rights that would already be law if not for your own chosen demand to hold a "people's veto" vote, and you are the ones who are forcing this money war in the first place!

This from Maine's "Yes on 1" campaign:

Dear Yes on Question 1 supporters,

We knew we were being vastly outspent from the fact that the No on 1 campaign was able to air their advertising upwards of 50% more than our Yes on 1 campaign ads. We had a clue that the other side was awash in money because of the dozens of paid staff members they have on board their campaign. But we never dreamed the situation was as dire as it is: our opponents have raised approximately $1.6 more than we have and are conducting a financial assault on the institution of marriage. Overall, they have raised an astonishing $2.7 million from gay marriage supporters across the country!

We are in desperate need of additional financial support or we risk losing because our opponents are attempting to buy themselves an election - and destroy the institution of marriage in the process.

The latest financial reports detailing the amount of money that has come in for both sides of the Question 1 campaign shows that our committee, Stand for Marriage Maine has raised approximately $1.1 million while our opponents have raised about 2.5 times more than we have. This is an astonishing financial advantage our opponents have amassed. It explains why they were able to be on the air with ads nearly three weeks before our campaign was able to begin advertising. It explains why they can afford to operate multiple campaign headquarters. It explains how they can afford a statewide staff of field organizers and operate dozens of phone banks. And it explains why the institution of marriage is teetering on the ledge - at risk of being forever redefined in Maine. Our opponents are raising money from across the country from gay marriage supporters who see an opportunity to win their first victory at the ballot box in the history of the nation.

We cannot let them get away with this. We cannot let homosexual marriage activists from virtually every state in the nation decide that marriage will be redefined in Maine. Please don't let our opponents succeed with this financial assault on marriage. Will you please, right now, make a generous donation to our campaign?

The good news is that even though we are being vastly outspent, we have run a financially prudent and efficient campaign. Our polling shows that we are dead-even right now and in a good position to win the campaign. Voters recall our advertising more so than the ads from the other side. We are defining Question 1 on our terms. And we know that we will win when voters come to understand the many consequences to families, children and society as a whole if same-sex marriage is legalized in Maine.

The only way our opponents can win is if they try to confuse the issue by running millions of dollars in advertising with false claims that we are lying about the consequences of legalizing homosexual marriage. They don't want to defend the teaching of homosexual marriage to young children in public schools, so they are spending millions to try to deny and deny. They don't want to talk about individuals, small businesses and religious groups being sued for refusing to support homosexual marriage, so they are spending millions to calls us liars. And they don't want to explain to voters why the law they sponsored and advocated strips from Maine's marriage statutes the interests of nurturing children, so they are spending millions making the oxymoronic claim that we are trying to "harm children." We are trying to prevent 5, 6 and 7 year old children from being taught about homosexual marriage in school against the wishes of their parents and we are accused of "harming children?" If it weren't so serious, this would be like describing an 'Alice in Wonderland' situation.

But it IS so serious. Our campaign strategists, who helped pass Proposition 8 in California and who have won dozens of initiative campaigns around the country, tell us that we cannot win if we continue to be outspent as we have to this point. It is amazing that we are still in a dead heat. We've had to cut our voter contact program dramatically. Every week we've cut our advertising budget. We've eliminated a statewide bus tour that we had planned for next week. We've had to cut back on staffing. And collateral materials. And direct mail. Our grassroots organizing has suffered.

Yet still we are in a position to pass Question 1. This is a testament to your strong support and to the common sense of average Mainers who know in their heart that marriage is worth preserving.

But let's not fool ourselves. We have to raise more money, right now, if we are to pass Question 1. Please make a sacrificial contribution today, as if the survival of marriage depended on it. Because, quite literally, it does.

The campaign reports made available today lay bare the falsehood of our opponents' claim that they have a homegrown, grassroots Maine-based campaign. The truth is their support has come mostly from the gay activist political elite from all corners of the nation, including Hollywood, Colorado, New York, Massachusetts, and the Democratic national political machine, Act Blue.com. They have raised money from virtually every state in the nation.

Why are homosexual marriage activists pouring money into Maine? Because never before have they been able to convince voters to approve homosexual marriage. Voters in thirty states have considered this issue, and in all thirty states they have voted to preserve traditional marriage and reject homosexual marriage. But our opponents think they can win in Maine. We are a small state. Raising millions of dollars to spend here will make a big difference. Recruiting hundreds of volunteers to come to Maine will make a big difference. And if they can win in Maine it would be historic. They will use a victory to attempt to convince the media that the mood of the nation has changed and that it is time for America to also abandon the God-created idea of marriage.

Will you let them get away with it?

So much is riding on the Question 1 election. We have three weeks left. We have three weeks to close the financial deficit we are in. We have three weeks to add to our advertising campaign. We have three weeks to buttress our grassroots operation. We have three weeks to talk to Maine voters about the importance of traditional marriage, and the consequences of abandoning it in favor of homosexual marriage.

But all this must start right now - today - and it must start with you and me. We've learned an important lesson. Our opponents are determined to do whatever they can to secure victory. We must respond, and respond now. It is up to you. There is no one but you. The only question is, will you be there for us when the fight for marriage needs you the most? We pray you will be.

Thank you for all your efforts to defend God's precious institution of marriage. We look forward to your continued help. We are counting on you at this critical time.

Sincerely,

Marc Mutty
Chairman
Stand For Marriage Maine

Also interesting that they slight the "No" side's out-of-state assistance in one breath, and then talk about their out-of-state Prop 8 campaign strategists in the next! Does this stuff sound solid in their heads?!?

But regardless of this obvious desperation, we CANNOT get complacent, folks! This sort of missive, as unbelievable as it is, is just the sort of thing that will lead evangelicals nationwide to open up their pocketbooks. We must do the same:


**UPDATE: Their report is now up. Pore over it here.

As expected, there are mega donations from the usual suspects. Around $340k from the National Organization For Marriage, another $50K from Focus on the Family, and a whopping $246k from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

**SEE ALSO: Louise at Pam's House Blend has more number crunching fun.

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Your thoughts

First, thanks for posting this - what a great reason to write a check to No on 1 :)

Second, I'm not going to mince words - Stand for Marriage Maine is the most whiny political group I've seen. First they block any voices of dissent, then they lie about school curricula and indocrination (while accusing us of lying about them), then they whine that out-of-state gays are canvassing. And now they whine they're getting outspent. You're exactly right, Jeremy - they started this fight, and it's obvious they don't have the chops for it.

Pathetic.

Posted by: DN | Oct 13, 2009 5:25:50 PM

That's exactly right, DN. They have been playing the victim at every turn, refusing to take even a modicum of responsibility for their own actions. Sure, we've come to expect that from those who want to ban our marriages. But SFMM has ratcheted it up to a crazy intense degree.

If they by some chance win, it will be despite their truly mismanaged campaign.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 13, 2009 5:30:28 PM

Just made another No on 1 donation! :-)

Posted by: remix | Oct 13, 2009 5:41:17 PM

Although I'm a financially unstable college student, I happened to have a little extra $ this month and decided that it couldn't go to a better cause. So No on 1 just got a few extra dollars richer, in hopes that Mainers can breath a little easier come November. It's good to hear that the other side is struggling, both in the polls (despite what they say) and in their pockets.

Posted by: mikepgh | Oct 13, 2009 5:45:33 PM

This is good news - I'm almost laughing. But don't let this stop our efforts! Keep sending money to our allies in Maine! Let's show that American citizens CAN vote for equality! Let's silence Maggie and her minions!

Posted by: John | Oct 13, 2009 6:00:19 PM

I fully expect that NOM (read: the LDS church) is just waiting in the wings to flood in a couple million in the last two weeks of the campaign. That way their money laundering / illegal electioneering doesn't register until after the election. We should never become complacent, and should always expect the lying liars to break every single ethical rule and attempt to skirt every statutory law on the books. They are liars, they are vicious, they are filled with hate, their words are vitriolic, and they will stop at nothing.

I think it's time for a drink!

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 13, 2009 6:09:34 PM

Wow! We raised $1.6 million more than the opposition. I love it. I can't stop smiling because its just too good. I'm looking forward to getting paid soon so I can make another donation.

No on 1, Keep up the good work!!

Posted by: Sam | Oct 13, 2009 6:45:52 PM

Remember ALL, MIDNIGHT of Oct. 15 is last time you can donate to MAINE Campaign. Thanks for helping.

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 13, 2009 7:02:06 PM

"dozens of phone banks" That's right. And I can say for a fact, that most if not all of those phone banks are staffed by volunteers. Some are in donated space - the one I work on is in a local business with five phone lines, but if they can't get donated space and lines, the volunteers meet in people's homes and use their own cell phones.

And yet, we may still lose this. God, I hope not, 'cause I for one can't afford to do this again.

Posted by: ColdCountry | Oct 13, 2009 7:08:48 PM

Unfortunately I fear that Dick Mills is right about the LDS coming in with a cash infusion in the last weeks.
But is it true that October 15 is the last time you can contribute to the Maine campaign like LOrion writes?

Posted by: john ozed | Oct 13, 2009 8:01:11 PM

And it IS time for America to abandon the god created idea of marriage!

Posted by: john ozed | Oct 13, 2009 8:03:09 PM

Criswell Associates seems to have supplied a lot of services, and purchased a lot of media for the hatemongers, but they have yet to be reimbursed for a big chunk of it. I find it hard to believe that Criswell would pony up what appears to be about $200k (that they haven't yet received from the campaign) without some reasonable guarantee that they would be made whole. And, if that campaign is going to make any more media buys, they most likely would do it through Criswell as well - so they will need to cover the $200k plus any new ad buys.

I guess I just am having trouble believing that they have shot their wad (including an additional 420k of debt), and that they now are just hoping (??) to rake in enough to cover the debt, and make buys for the remaining two weeks. Call me cynical, but I just don't buy it. Is there another reporting requirement prior to the election? Or, do they now have until the end of the year to report any of the "last minute" donations? I don't trust these liars, and past performance just screams out that they are planning something underhandedly shady.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Oct 13, 2009 8:03:48 PM

What did Maine's Election Commission find out about NOM? When is the hearing?

Posted by: Mykelb | Oct 14, 2009 12:18:24 AM

This is simply a fund raising opportunity. By portraying themselves as victims and running out of money, they will rake in hundreds of thousands from Mormons, Catholics, large pro-homophobia advocacy groups and churches and various other radical anti-gay activists. Don't be fulled by the lying anti-equality crowd--I've been through it once in California with Prop. 8.

Posted by: Michael | Oct 14, 2009 12:41:15 AM

Michael: While this will certainly have the unfortunate effect of fundraising for their side, there are some limits to how much they could be lying here. If nothing else, it shows a dearth of individual donors during this reporting period, with the bulk of cash coming from NOM/Portland Diocese/FOF. That's insightful. And if they're fudging things there, then they could really get into some trouble, something they clearly don't need in the face of the other ethics probe.

Also, while we can expect a cash influx for their side, I know that our side has also been ROCKING IT in October (which this report doesn't represent). I have personally given a sizable donation in the past week, and know of others who have either done the same themselves, or who have held fundraisers for the cause.

So yea -- our message should stress the need to be as active and generous as ever. But I'm taking this is a minor victory, too.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 14, 2009 8:26:40 AM

Assuming, for the sake of discussion, that NOM is in violation of campaign law, and the punishment would be, say, that they could no longer campaign...

Nothing would happen, because it would take much longer than the 20 days remaining to investigate, prosecute, and enforce punishments - to say nothing of appeals.

This is a common tactic when facing a deadline - who cares if you're doing something illegal, as long as you can't be stopped before it's too late?

On the other hand, if NOM is out of compliance, we'd better hold their feet to the fire any time they come near another state's equality.

Posted by: DN | Oct 14, 2009 10:53:55 AM

The filing shows that a bunch of money went to MAR/COM. SERVICES, INC. at 58 Maiden Lane, 2nd floor, San Francisco. Which is none other than the Criswell Associates that Jeremy wrote about a few weeks ago. Why do these people work so hard to hide their identities? Hell, you'd think they were ashamed of what they're doing.

Posted by: Mark L | Oct 14, 2009 11:09:22 AM

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