June 22, 2004
HRC Launches Unprecedented Multi-Million Dollar Election Plan
'Equality is on the line and our community is taking this fight to the ballot box,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign launched its plans for Campaign 2004 today - a massive and unprecedented effort to elect fair-minded leaders in November. The launch comes just weeks before the U.S. Senate is expected to take up the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment.
"Equality is on the line and our community is taking this fight to the ballot box," said Cheryl Jacques, HRC president. "The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and our allies will hold senators who vote for the FMA accountable with our votes in November."
HRC will spend upwards of $10 million on election-related activity this cycle - both to educate and turn out our supporters, and fight attempts by the right-wing to use marriage rights for same-sex couples as a 'wedge' issue. Data from Voter News Service and Zogby International consistently measure 4 to 5 percent of the voting population as self-identified gay or lesbian.
This cycle, HRC plans to endorse over 200 fair-minded leaders for president, U.S. Senate and House, and plans to spend over $1.3 million in political action committee funds. HRC is the largest contributor of PAC funds in the GLBT community, and is also the largest funder of GOP campaigns among GLBT PACs. HRC will also run an independent expenditure campaign to educate our community about what is at stake in this election.
HRC's board of directors amended HRC's PAC criteria in October 2003, pledging only to support candidates who would vote to protect the
U.S. Constitution from amendments that would discriminate against GLBT individuals or couples.
"Writing discrimination into the U.S. Constitution is our line in the sand," said Jacques. "This cycle we will employ sophisticated techniques to identify and turn out not only our base, but other fair-minded voters who don't want the Constitution used to discriminate."
For the first time, HRC will move beyond its own membership and communicate with a broader electorate of allied voters. HRC will use a combination of traditional polling and SmarTargeting to identify and target "allied voters." HRC will follow the polling and targeting projects with focus groups to provide message guidance and test mail pieces that will be sent to these voters.
HRC has launched e-Quality Candidates, a program to bundle contributions online for fair-minded candidates. Several thousand HRC members gave a total of $8.6 million to campaigns, party committees and PACs in the 2002 cycle. This new bundling program will harness the political giving of HRC's membership for key endorsees and deliver additional clout on Capitol Hill.
For the fifth time, HRC published a candidate manual, "Equality: A Winning Message" - a resource to help fair-minded candidates better understand issues important to the GLBT community, and provide updates and status of legislation, sentiment in the community, polling, and message pointers.
HRC plans to dispatch dozens of trained staff around the country in this effort. Thirty young leaders will be trained on the components of winning campaigns through HRC's Youth College program in August and set out to targeted campaigns - a 50 percent increase in the number of participants this year. In addition, more than 25 HRC staff will be in the field, working with HRC's membership to involve them in elections and ballot measures, each spending 2-4 weeks on the road. HRC is also hiring four full-time field staff to work in Nevada, New Mexico, Missouri and Wisconsin on energizing the GLBT community and fair-minded families and friends.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.