Early voting is already under way here in North Carolina but the Amendment One TV ad wars start up this week as the Protect All NC Families campaign launches two that will run statewide this week (the pro-amendment forces start theirs as well). From the campaign’s description:

Ad #1: Melissa

“Melissa” tells the story of Melissa and Libby and their 5 y/o daughter. Libby works for the city of Durham and they have healthcare coverage under Durham’s domestic partnership benefits plan. If the amendment passes, they are afraid that their daughter will lose her health care. And the cost of getting her an individual policy is prohibitive.

Ad #2: Consequences

“Consequences” tells the story of a survivor of domestic violence and currently has a protective order against her attacker. They were never married. She is afraid that a court could decide that her situation is not “domestic” because they were not married and that her protective order could be put in jeopardy.

A media conference call was held Sunday night to debut the ads featuring Chad Griffin and Mark Armour of Armour|Griffin Media (creative team for the ads; Griffin, you might recall, is also the incoming head of the Human Rights Campaign), Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and from polling firm Lake Research Josh Ulibarri.

Ulibarri noted that in online surveys and polling, these ads moved voters to a 50/50 split on the amendment. In addition, among targeted demographics – including African Americans – the move was even more dramatic.

The campaign says it also plans rapid responses to combat what the Vote for Marriage NC crowd tosses out there this week. Chad Griffin reiterated that the alarm still needs to be sounded among national donors. “We can spend money until the very end but we need to have it earlier than that.” Based on his past experience, he expects the pro-Amendment side to come in late with large sums of money. Reports indicate that former head of the NC Republican Party, Tom Fetzer, may now be raising money for the effort, illustrating the reinforcements have arrived for Vote for Marriage NC, which has contracted with anti-gay media consultant Frank Schubert, mastermind behind the Prop 8 and Maine efforts (see background from journalist Karen Ocamb here).


Dustin Lance Black challenged DNC attendees (the convention will be held in Charlotte) to support the anti-Amendment One campaign in NCbefore they give another $100,000 for a VIP package.


Other points to mention:

  • Online fundraising continues to accelerate – half of the $600,000 raised has arrived in the last three weeks; the campaign is set to break the online record for fundraising in the state —  in only four months as opposed to the fourteen months in which the original record was set.
  • In terms of volunteer and GOTV efforts, the campaign reported there have been 6518 volunteer shifts as of yesterday. 3,000 more shifts for GOTV scheduled for next 3 weeks.
  • Chad Griffin noted how the campaign relates to the donors and the diverse, bi-partisan coalition as said it serves a model for campaigns to come. “It’s amazing that Mr. Blankenhorn and I would be on the same side of this issue.” [Referring to pro-Proposition 8 witness David Blankenhorn, who came out against Amendment One in a recent op-ed.]
  • Over $600,000 has been raised online, total. 80% of money coming from in-state; $95,000 towards the match has been raised out of the $100,000 challenge by Todd and Diana Stiefel of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation last week.
  • (see Todd’s video below):

As I have noted, the early voting turnout has been stellar so far (I cast my ballot on Saturday). 50,000 North Carolinians have already cast ballots and there has been an overwhelming response on college campuses. Duke University has already seen over 1200 voters in first two days (out of 3500 students on campus). You can see results just for Durham, a key turnout city here, and statewide here.