Friday, November 15, 2013

GMO label redux: Everett columnist says poor campaign, not money, caused I-522's fall | Politics Blog | The Bellingham Herald

GMO label redux: Everett columnist says poor campaign, not money, caused I-522's fall 
An initiative that would require producers to label foods with genetically engineered ingredients starts out with a large lead in the polls, gets massively outspent and then loses in a close race.
The story of Initiative 522 in Washington? Why, yes it is. But I was talking about last year's Proposition 37 in California.
Everett Herald columnist Jerry Cornfield asks a compelling question in a piece that ran on Thursday, Nov. 14: Now that we know I-522 suffered the identical fate as Prop 37, a similar GMO-labeling initiative in California, why didn't the Yes on 522 folks learn a lesson from the California defeat?
Cornfield argues the pro I-522 campaign fell into the same trap as the backers of the California initiative. It wasn't that it was outspent, $22 million to $8 million, it was that they had a poor strategy. It didn't do enough to woo rural voters.
For those disinclined to click on the Cornfield column, here's where he hits the crux of his argument:
Their plan called for winning at least 60 percent of the votes in King County, to pick up Snohomish County and to do respectably in the rural areas.
They are almost there in the state's largest county. They barely got there in Snohomish County -- 51.4 percent. But they are getting wiped out in the smaller counties of Eastern Washington.
Dan Flynn, a Denver-based writer with Food Safety News, believes rural voters are the reason I-522 went down.
"Indeed, the rural counties of Washington voted just like the rural counties of California did a year ago when they proved key to toppling Proposition 37," Flynn wrote Sunday online. "When the medicine show behind the Prop. 37 campaign announced it was moving on to Washington state, I remember thinking, "Gee, a state with a larger rural vote than California."

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