The Tuesday Count: Washington 2013 measure breaks campaign funding record

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October 29, 2013

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Edited by Brittany Clingen

2013 ballot measures
The statewide ballots are officially set in six states - Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington - for the general election on November 5, 2013. Going forward throughout the weeks preceding the election, Ballotpedia's Tuesday Count will be providing various reports and analyses of the measures that will appear on the ballot. For ongoing pre-election coverage, please see here.

Washington I-522

See also: 2013 Campaign Contributions

Washington's highly contentious I-522 ballot measure, arguably the most important and anticipated ballot measure of 2013, has broken the record for the most money ever raised by an initiative campaign in the state, amassing an incredible $21,999,777. Just last week, opponents of I-522, a measure that asks voters whether or not labeling certain foodstuffs that contain GMOs should be mandated, reported a total of $17,174,220. This amount alone was enough to break the state record for the most money ever raised in opposition to a measure. The current figure of nearly $22 million has now pushed the opposition campaign past all others ever run for or against a ballot measure.[1] This is quite an accomplishment, as 432 measures have appeared on Washington ballots between 1898 and 2012. The following table outlines the five most funded campaigns throughout the state’s history:

Measure Position Amount
Initiative 522 (2013) Opposition $22,009,926
Initiative 1183 (2011) Support $20,115,326
Initiative 1107 (2010) Support $16,042,629
Referendum 74 (2012) Support $14,784,287
Initiative 1183 (2011) Opposition $12,351,656

News of this additional 4 million odd dollars for the opposition comes on the heels of updated polls indicating that the significant lead supporters held at the beginning of September has shrunk, leaving only 4 - 7 points between the support and opposition. With the polls this close and approximately 12 - 16 percent of people undecided, it's anyone's guess which way the votes will go one week from today. This scenario is reminiscent of California's Proposition 37. In 2012, voters in California voted on a similar measure, which would require the labeling of GMOs and prevent foods containing them from being designated as "natural." Prop 37 was defeated by a narrow margin of 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent. Supporters of the measure raised $8,700,000, while the opposition campaign - which, like I-522 received millions of dollars from the biotech corporation Monsanto - raised $45,600,000. Supporters of Prop 37 similarly had a significant lead in September; this lead slipped away, and by the end of October, the opposition had pulled ahead in the polls. Read more about Prop 37 here.

Washington Initiative 522 - Support v. Opposition
Poll Support OppositionUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Elway Poll
September 3-5, 2013
Elway Poll
October 15-17, 2013
KING 5 News Poll
October 22, 2013
AVERAGES 52.33% 33.67% 13.33% +/-4.77 455
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Though the support campaign for I-522 has not shattered any state records, it has still raised a formidable $8,134,913, the most money raised in support of a ballot measure in 2013.

2013 Campaign Finance Allocation:


     Most contributions

State Support Opposition
Colorado Amendment 66 $7,864,366 $18,017
Colorado Proposition AA $62,105 $2,047
New Jersey Public Question 2 $686,000 $0
New York Proposal 1 $2,075,400 $0
New York Proposal 5 $501,482 $0
New York Proposal 6 $501,780 $0
Texas Proposition 6 $952,202 $0
Washington I-517 $307,090 $512,308
Washington I-522 $8,134,913 $21,999,777
TOTAL $21,085,338 $22,532,149

Financial breakdown

Initially, there was only one PAC opposing I-522. However, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson threatened to bring a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), claiming it was avoiding campaign disclosure laws by failing to register as a separate PAC. At the time these allegations were made, GMA had raised over $7 million and funneled it through the official campaign, "No on 522." If GMA did a special assessment and asked members to donate specifically to the I-522 opposition campaign, they would be required to register as an official PAC and disclose the names of donors. The GMA has refused to say if it did such a special assessment, however it did create a separate PAC and identified donors. The GMA PAC has raised over $11 million in opposition to the initiative. Read more about the lawsuit here.

The below data was obtained from the Public Disclosure Commission and is current as of October 29, 2013. The following are committees registered in opposition to Initiative 522:[2]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Grocery Manufacturers Association Against I-522 $11,047,472 N/A
NO on 522 $10,952,305 $13,530,110
Total $21,999,777 $13,530,110
Note: GMA has a PAC as of October 2013 due to an impending lawsuit. However, GMA is not “spending” contributions. Rather, GMA is giving their received donations to No on 522 as “donations,” as they did prior to registering as a PAC. Therefore, No on 522 appears to be overspending, but, in reality, has a multi-million dollar surplus.

Top 5 contributors:

Donor Amount
Monsanto $5,374,411
DuPont Pioneer $3,880,159
Pepsi Co $1,620,899
Bayer CropScience $1,091,654
Nestle USA $1,052,742

See also

2013 ballot measures
Tuesday Count2013 Scorecard