he “No on I-522” campaign since September has been buying up airtime, spending a total of $634,297 to purchase 459 spots on Seattle’s ABC news affiliate, KOMO4, to run from Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, according to the latest Federal Communications Commission filings.
Meanwhile, the “Yes on I-522” campaign has spent $110,650 for 84 ad spots to run from Oct. 28 until Nov. 4 on the ABC affiliate — just slightly more than the $106,700 it spent to run 91 ads during the first two weeks of October.
And that’s just for one market. Both sides have purchased airtime at other stations across the state.
The considerable ad buys from the No on I-522 campaign reflect the combined $22 million it has raised to make the case the measure is poorly written and, if passed, would increase prices at the grocery store and hurt state farmers. That’s a new record in Washington, beating the previous mark of $20.1 million raised in 2011 to support the privatization of liquor sales in the state.
The Yes on I-522 campaign, meanwhile, has raised just $7.8 million.
Given everything at play, Ridout said it’s unclear which way Washington will go on I-522. “I’ve been trying to figure it out and I just don’t know. On the one hand, it seems like it might go with the yes side just because it seems a very populous kind of citizen-directed idea. But two facts make me think the other direction: The balance of ads has been on the no side … [and] there is a tendency for people when they are confused on the issue and when they don’t know much about the issue to just vote no.”
Both sides better be careful about overwhelming voters in these final days, however.
“It’s a bit much,” said Jodi Novotny, 43, of Issaquah, a suburb of Seattle. “I would definitely tend to be someone who would vote for this — I’m a label reader — and I probably will, but the ads for are as much of a turnoff as the ads against.”