Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of blog articles by University of Washington Tacoma students interning with The News Tribune. They are taking a closer look at campaign finance in the current election cycle.
According to PDC data, Pierce County supporters of Referendum-74, the ballot initiative requiring voters to approve last February’s legalization of same-sex marriage, are outraising opponents by a 3-to-1 margin.
As of Sept. 27, 663 Pierce County residents had contributed a total of $89,382 to Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the Seattle-based PAC leading the fundraising effort statewide to see R-74 approved in November. On the other side, 142 individuals had donated $29,930 to Preserve Marriage Washington (PMW), the group sponsoring R-74, in their effort to prevent implementation of the new marriage-equality law.
For both groups, the City of Tacoma accounts for the lion’s share of Pierce County contributions.
Washington United for Marriage has collected 467 individual contributions from Tacoma residents, for a total so far of $68,166, or more than 76 percent of its Pierce County total. Preserve Marriage Washington has received 52 percent of its total from Tacoma contributors: $15,610 from just 42 individuals — most of it ($12,500) coming from a single Tacoma couple, James and Mary Ann Boulanger.
Overall, Pierce County residents have contributed just under two percent of the more than $6 million raised from in-state donors by these two groups since last January (including out-of-state donors both groups have collectively raised nearly $8.7 million to date). Statewide, Washington United for Marriage is outperforming Preserve Marriage Washington in in-state contributions, by more than an 8-to-1 margin —$5.4 million to $552,970.
For a closer look at who is contributing for/against R-74 from other parts of the state, as well as the controversy surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage in general, check out Jordan Schrader’s Sunday story.