Money and the "Marriage Amendment"

A national blast today from the National Organization for Marriage says the pro-amendment campaign in NC is running short of money. Who's spending what in the fight over the constitutional amendment?

Posted Updated

Laura Leslie

Supporters of NC's proposed constitutional ban on same-sex unions got an email appeal today from the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown. 

"My friend, for the first time, I'm truly concerned that we could lose this battle," Brown says in his message. "Tami Fitzgerald, head of Vote for Marriage NC, tells me that they have had to cut their advertising budget by two-thirds simply because they don't have the money."

Warnings of potential defeat are hardly an unusual tactic in political fundraising. But in this case, the numbers (so far) suggest Brown may have a point.

Opponents of the so-called "Marriage Amendment" unveiled two anti-amendment TV spots Monday. They say their ad buy is around $500,000 statewide.  You can see the spots here and here. 
Supporters of the amendment announced today their ad is on the air, too, but Vote4Marriage spokeswoman Rachel Lee declined to provide details about the size or location of the media buy. You can see that spot here.
In today's email to supporters, posted on NOM's blog, Brown blamed "Hollywood liberals" for financing an ad buy he says will outnumber the pro-Amendment spots "3 to 1." 

Organization# of Network Ads in Charlotte and RaleighGross CostProtect All NC Families615$462,390Vote for Marriage312$216,915 

Data compiled by WRAL's Mark Binker shows that ratio is overstated. But at this point, with election day just two weeks away, amendment opponents are clearly outspending supporters.

The opponents: $462.4K
  • The Charlotte and Triangle network TV media buy by amendment opponents Coalition to Protect NC Families is $462,390 as of April 24th. That total spending bought 615 spots, about 60 % of them in Charlotte.
  • The same group spent another $91,000 on cable spots so far on 9 networks in Charlotte, Greensboro, and the Triangle.
The supporters: $216.9K
  • Vote4MarriageNC, the main group backing the amendment, bought network TV time in Charlotte and Triangle worth $216,915 as of April 24th. That money bought 312 network TV spots, 65 percent of those in Charlotte. 
  • Vote4Marriage also spent $56,500 on cable buys on 13 networks in Charlotte, Greensboro, the Triangle, and Wilmington. 

We're still working on getting info from Greensboro/Triad area stations. Still, the trend from the state's two larges media markets shows opponents outspending amendment backers roughly 2-to-1 on television.

Note: Thanks to Stuart Watson of WCNC in Charlotte, who is working with us to gather television station public file information.

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