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Campaign Finance Reports Show Money not Always Key to Success

Final campaign finance reports show supporters of Proposition 204 spent nearly $2.5 million in their unsuccessful bid to impose a permanent one-cent sales tax to benefit education and other causes.  But they picked up only about 36 percent of the vote even though foes had just $1.8 million. Initiative organizer Ann-Eve Pedersen said that doesn't tell the whole story.

"Our campaign had to spend almost $800,000 just to qualify for the ballot," she said. "So that left Prop 204 with a lot less money to spend on TV ads and direct mail."

And then there was the court fight just to get on the ballot.

"We could not effectively fundraise for almost two months because of the legal limbo we faced over petition challenge was very damaging and it prevented us from raising the amount of money that was essentially needed to win," Pedersen said.

Paul Johnson who headed the Prop 121 campaign for an open primary system, said $1.1 million of his groups $1.8 million also was eaten up in signature gathering and legal fights. But the former Phoenix mayor was not making excuses for its defeat.

"I blame me for not being creative enough, not being able to figure out how to deal with getting more money, being able to figure out how to build a bigger coalition, and not being able to communicate with the people, maybe building the grass-roots support early enough to be victorious," Johnson said.

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