We started what became Measure 13 in November of 2008. Everyone, our opponents included, agreed that the 48%-52% loss in 2006 was narrow enough that a second shot would probably hit the mark.
Since the 2006 election I had been getting offers of help if I’d do some coordinating in bringing the issue up again. I put out a feeler: "Send me money. If I get $3500 by December 1 (2008), I’ll find a sponsor and bring patients in front of a legislative committee. Our chances are not good at getting the legislature to act, but we might get some press out of it."
In the 2009 session, we were granted approximately two hours to present testimony and listen to opponents talk. That’s quite a little for a hearing on whether to kill or advance a bill. The patients presented “compelling testimony” according to Reps. Nick Moser and Phil Jensen, but they voted to continue making them criminals and threatening them with arrest anyway. We spent about $6000 arranging that little show.
Emmett Reistroffer, 19 (at the time), of Sioux Falls had contacted me and said he wanted to help. He ended up ramrodding the whole petition process and the election campaign. He did a far better job than I would have done.
Our opponents during the past three or four months mounted a campaign that didn’t cost much, but we weren’t able to come up with the money to mass-market our message. Hard to say how much would have been sufficient, but our patients/spokespeople could have effected great consciousness-raising in 30-second ads.
I think the greatest part of the reason we got beat 65-35 yesterday is due to a large change in the voting demographic in 2010 as opposed to 2006. Add that to our lack of visibility just at the time our opponents became visible, and you get what we got.
Politics is the continual conversation over who gets to do what to whom. The victory for our opponents was that they get to continue to keep people criminal who are attempting to alleviate their medical conditions. That is the total of their victory.