Why Would You Make Your Campaign More Expensive Than It Has to Be?

No on 2 Maine and No on 4 Maine

One coalition came together to defeat Question 2 and Question 4 on the Maine ballot back in 2009. Question 2, the Maine Auto Excise Tax Repeal Initiative, would have cut the car excise tax in half. Question 4, better known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), would have limited government spending increases to increases in population and inflation. Initial polling had Question 2 passing by 15%, and Question 4 passing by 24%.

What became abundantly clear, based on our research, was that we could not run one campaign asking voters to vote against Question 2 and Question 4. The voters wanted us to make our case on each initiative separately and not clumped together. Where we were hoping to run just one campaign, we now had to run two. This was unfortunate because now we had to pay for two campaigns instead of one.

This meant we had to run television, radio, and digital ads separately for Question 2 and Question 4. We could not implement just one media campaign asking people to oppose both Questions 2 and 4. For earned media purposes, we even had two different Communications Directors. We even had two separate PACs. Though we were one campaign behind the scenes, we were two distinct campaigns publicly.

We were able to allocate resources appropriately to defeat both initiatives as fiscally responsible as possible. For Question 2 we landed on the perfect message with the perfect ad. For Question 4 the message was more complicated. That’s why we had to run three different ads to make the case to vote against TABOR. (Hat Tip to Julie Norton for her media prowess and great ads on Question 2 and 4)

In the end we were able to defeated Question 2 by a large margin of 74% to 25%. Question 4 went down 60% to 40%.