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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stem Cell Money Hunt

         Michigan has a rich history of ballot proposals. Since 1963, some 67 constitutional amendments have gone before the voters.
         Years ago if a group could scrap together two to four million dollars; it had a shot at passing its proposal.  Those days are loooong gone, as Ernie Harwell use to say.
          With the cost of TV advertising leading the way, the folks pushing a yes vote on Proposal 2 would love to have $12 million but would settle for half that amount. They are not there yet, and may not get there which means expanding embryonic research is in trouble.
          Nobody on the anti-side will release their budget figures either, but it's a pretty good bet that Right to Life of Michigan and the Michigan Catholic Conference will open up their check books to make sure their message gets into your ears.  And don 't forget the age-old axiom of ballot plans, it is easier to cultivate a "no" vote than it is to explain why you should vote yes.
          In other states where this stem cell plan has been approved, it's been the results of one benefactor making a huge contribution to push the issue over the top.  So far that has not happened here with the proponents, but there is hope that financier Alfred Taubman will do that.
          He gave $22 million to the University of Michigan the other day, but will he do it again on stem cells?  He has already loaned the group $1.5 million but that is not the same as donating another 10.
          You'll know if that happens because the number of TV commercials will rise dramatically, but the clock is ticking on that and with each tock, the chances of passing stem cell research goes down.


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