NOM Ignores Its Own Track Record In Pledge To Oust Pro-Equality Illinois Republicans
January 03, 2013 4:38 pm ET by Carlos Maza
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is promising to oust Illinois Republican legislators who vote in support of marriage equality, despite its dismal record in following up on similar threats to punish pro-equality politicians.
NOM pledged Thursday to form an Illinois state PAC to spend $250,000 defeating Republicans who support a same-sex marriage equality bill expected to come up for a vote in January. According to NOM’s press release:
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today pledged to form an Illinois state PAC and spend $250,000 defeating Republican legislators who vote in support of same-sex 'marriage' in Illinois, just like the group successfully did in New York.
"Any Republican in Illinois who betrays the cause of marriage will be casting a career-ending vote and will be held accountable to their constituents," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "We will spend whatever it takes — hundreds of thousands of dollars if necessary — to remove them from office, just as we did three of the four turncoat Republican state Senators in New York who were responsible for gay 'marriage' passing there.”
NOM talks a big game, but the viability of its threat to oust pro-equality politicians isn’t supported by its track record.
NOM’s press release refers to its so-called success in defeating New York Republicans who voted in favor of marriage equality in 2011. In reality, however, NOM lost the majority of the primary races it engaged in last September.
Its sole “victory” in New York this past November – the defeat of Republican Sen. Stephen Saland (SD-41) – resulted in the election of a pro-equality Democrat. Another NOM target, Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-SD 60), won reelection by a wide margin despite facing a three-way race with a conservative challenger.
Outside of New York, NOM has been even less successful in influencing state elections.
In New Hampshire last year, NOM pledged $250,000 to challenge Republicans who voted against the effort to repeal the state’s marriage equality law, but it failed to influence the GOP primary. According to Freedom to Marry’s Shawn Werner, “in every district where there was evidence of NOM’s participation, they failed!”
In Washington state last year, NOM pledged $250,000 to fund primary challenges to pro-equality state Republican legislators. But NOM was absent from the state’s primary election, failing to fund challengers to either of the two pro-equality Republicans up for reelection. As Freedom to Marry noted, NOM was “all bark and no bite” in Washington.
In Iowa, NOM similarly failed to oust pro-equality state Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins, despite pledging $100,000 to influence the otherwise low-key judicial retention election. Wiggins was retained in November by a 10-point margin.
These defeats cast serious doubt on NOM’s ability to influence state elections, even considering the group’s limited success in New York. And with NOM’s funding potentially beginning to dry up, Illinois Republicans have much less to fear than NOM would like them to believe.