Fluoride Action Network

Portland: Fluoride vote couldn’t be bought, even with a 3-to-1 cash advantage

Source: The Oregonian | June 13th, 2013 | By Ryan Kost
Location: United States, Oregon

[The] fluoride vote, it’s probably a safe bet that most Portlanders want to put it behind them. Still, City Hall Watch would be remiss if we didn’t report the final fundraising totals.

According to campaign finance records, with everything accounted for, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland — the pro-fluoride group — raised $958,000. That sum includes everything from cash to loans to in-kind contributions. In terms of expenditures, they hit nearly $892,000.

Over on the anti-fluoride side, Clean Water Portland raised and spent $293,000 when everything was said and done.

The big lesson here seems to be that money can’t buy an election — at least not this one.

To put these totals in starker terms, the pro-fluoride side outspent their opponents on a margin of 3-to-1, but still lost the vote with an overwhelming 60 percent of voters saying “no.”

In terms of where all the money went, both of the campaigns seemed to have sunk the largest chunk of their dollars into advertising — printing in particular. Remember the yard signs?

Last month, as vote totals were coming in and it seemed clear that Portland had voted against fluoride, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland said it was a clear message that ended up defeating their considerable financial edge.

“The simplicity of their message was certainly an advantage,” said Alejandro Queral from Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland. “I think the opponents did a very good job of casting doubt on the science. I think they homed in on their message and they hammered away on it.”