If dollars were votes, HERO would be a winner on Nov. 3 as supporters of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance raised $1.26 million in seven weeks – more than twice that of opponents.
“We have certainly done well on the money front so far and appreciate the grassroots groundswell from hundreds of Houstonians who have contributed to this effort,” Richard Carlbom, Houston Unites campaign manager, said in a press release touting the numbers.
HERO supporters raised $1.26 million since Houston Unites launched in mid August, compared to more than $411,000 for opponents through their Campaign for Houston. That gives HERO supporters a distinct advantage in the four weeks left before voters decide the fate of the ordinance, according to a detailed breakdown by the Houston Chronicle:
Supporters of Houston's contentious equal rights ordinance raked in $1.26 million during seven weeks of official fundraising, more than doubling opponents' efforts and fueling a fierce and frenzied media campaign to court voters before the law hits the November ballot.
In campaign finance reports filed Monday that reflect late summer totals, both sides spent more than $550,000, largely on dueling TV and radio ads. But the more than $521,000 that supporters of the law still had left in campaign coffers as of Sept. 25 dwarfed the $58,000 that opponents reported in cash-on-hand.
Houston Unites said more than 80 percent of its nearly 700 donors were from Houston. A bulk of the group's $597,000 spending was used on TV and radio ads, direct mail and field organizing, the group said.
Despite the cash disadvantage, HERO opponents said they aren't discouraged. The Campaign for Houston has unleashed a series of misleading, anti-trans advertising spots as part of its $554,111 in expenditures.
In the battle over the city's equal rights ordinance, Jared Woodfill, spokesman for opponents, said the campaign is unfazed by supporters' significant fundraising totals.
"We're absolutely not intimidated at this point," Woodfill said. "I believe the momentum is in our favor and clearly this is an ordinance that the people in Houston don't want."
But HERO supporters aren't resting. Carlbom said supporters need to keep the contributions coming so Houston Unites can spend the $2 million it says is needed to win.
"There is a great sense of urgency around fundraising this week and next. We know from past ballot campaigns that equal rights opponents spend significant dollars in the final weeks. We must remain competitive with them in what will, no doubt, be a close election," Carlbom added.
Photo by Rob Martinez