MHPC Opponent: Yes, They’re Effective
The Maine Municipal Association recently delivered 2,000 pages of email messages in response to MHPC’s Freedom of Access Act request. The email consisted of Geoff Herman’s and Chris Lockwood’s TABOR-related correspondence from last year’s campaign. The MMA, you’ll recall, was up to its collective eyeballs in the Citizens Unified PAC set up by the MMA and its confederates to oppose TABOR and the excise tax initiatives.
The day after the election, the congratulations to MEA Executive Director Mark Gray were flowing freely but Ben Dudley – longtime lefty activist and head of the Engage Maine coalition of “progressive” organizations – provided some sober analysis that’s a tribute to MHPC’s effectiveness.
Here’s what Ben wrote to his Citizens Unified confederates:
Thank you for your exceptional leadership and for the privilege of being connected to this outstanding campaign. You kept us focused on our plan and delivered a textbook come-from-behind victory.
While it’s always rewarding to win, it is especially gratifying to have done so working with such a diverse groups of individuals and interests. I know that the Engage Maine community is very happy to have made stronger connections with the members of this coalition and we look forward to continued work together.
On that note, though I think we’ve put TABOR to bed for a long time, the Maine Heritage Policy Center lives on. As A.J. Higgins reported yesterday, “[Tarren] Bragdon wouldn’t speculate on whether his group would launch another TABOR effort, but he made it clear that TABOR supporters weren’t going anywhere.”
No doubt MHPC is feeling the sting of defeat right now (Maine Leads too), but their efforts weren’t without some measure of success. Looking at PAC expenditures (not including all the in-kind spending) on both sides, TABOR Now and More Green Now spent about $280,000 on offense (this includes the cost of petition circulation from 2007 to 2008, while Citizens Unified spent $1.8 million on defense.
Obviously this isn’t sustainable for us. It’s also bad for Maine for a such reckless and skillful group to be able to wreak so much havoc with so few resources (the signature collection cost them about $100,000 — and remember, they nearly qualified 3 initiatives!)
So, like you Mark, I look forward to working with this coalition in the future — on something other than TABOR. Like Nancy, I think it’s time that MHPC and Maine Leads play defense.
With profound appreciation and eagerness for things to come,
Well, Ben, all we can say is thanks for the backhanded compliment!