National organizations pumped in millions of dollars to fuel local passions in the recent statewide election for Initiative 26 – the Personhood Amendment. The initiative, which required nearly 100,000 voter signatures to make it onto the ballot, would have amended “the Mississippi Constitution to define the word ‘person’ or ‘persons’ as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”
Mississippi voters rejected the initiative 58 to 42 percent, more than a 130,000 vote margin.
Organizations filing with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office in support of Initiative 26 included Personhood Mississippi whose director Les Riley led the efforts to get the initiative on the ballot and which spent about $32,000; Personhood PAC which spent almost $600; and Yes on 26 which raised over a million dollars mostly from the Colorado based organization Personhood USA ($824,175) and the Tupelo based American Family Association ($136,134). Yes on 26 hired as its director Brad Prewitt, a Tupelo based attorney who leads the government relations firm the Prewitt Group.
The main opposition group on the initiative was Mississippians for Healthy Families, created by leaders from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood and funded to about $1.3 million in mostly out-of-state, Planned Parenthood related contributions. Their organization Mississippi Trusts Women never raised or spent any money; and the group Parents Against Personhood raised and spent about $5000. Another effective organization opposing the initiative was Students Voting No On 26 which was created, largely funded and staffed by the Feminist Majority Foundation at about $27,000.
Stan Flint, managing director of Jackson’s Southern Strategy Group – a government affairs and lobbying firm – was one of the chief consultants hired by Mississippians for Healthy Families. He joined up with Democrat pollster Brad Chism to define the campaign.
Madison County Journal