Washington United for Marriage, the PAC attempting to pass a same-sex marriage law, has reserved $5 million in television commercials ramping up to the November 6 general election, says campaign director Zach Silk. They will begin airing after Labor Day, targeting swing voters that include suburban mothers and even conservative men who have libertarian views about domestic relationships.
The spending to approve Referendum 74 "starts to put us in the territory of some of the largest campaigns ever run in Washington State," Silk says. The group also hopes to raise "a few more million," he adds, for campaigning that includes targeted direct mail.
The heavy fundraising and early ad reservations put Washington State's marriage equality campaign on distinctly better footing than California—where marriage equality was overturned at the polls four years ago. In that state, pro-gay-rights forces donated money in the eleventh hour, "so late that they couldn't spent it wisely," Silk says.
Washington United has raised $6.1 million so far, though a quarter of that amount has already been spent, according to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. Meanwhile, anti-gay Preserve Marriage Washington has raised a a relatively scant $438,000—and has made no ad reservations, sources say—but is expected to receive an infusion of cash from the Catholic Church and the National Organization for Marriage.