CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With just a few days remaining before the primary election ballot is cast in North Carolina, supporters and opponents of the Marriage Amendment to the state Constitution have placed a last minute ad blitz on television.
But unlike candidate ads with their familiar refrain of “I approved this message,” voters might never know who is accountable for an issue ad.
By looking through online files at the North Carolina State Board of Elections and sorting that data in a spreadsheet, the I-Team has put names to the largest contributions behind each side on Amendment One.
The Coalition to Protect NC Families reported this week that it had raised a total of $1,968,326 to oppose the amendment while Vote For Marriage NC reported raising a total of $1,071,007.
The largest single contributors to the “vote yes” side are:
- The Christian Action League: $311,553
- The National Organization for Marriage: $302,590
- Phil Drake, a software company owner: $250,000
Phil Drake is a Davidson College graduate who operates a software company in Franklin. He is a Tea Party supporter who has spoken out against abortion and big government.
The largest single contributors to the “vote no” side are:
- The Human Rights Campaign: $246,499
- Replacements, Limited: $234,730
- Jon Stryker, architect and philanthropist: $200,000
Jon Stryker is a billionaire philanthropist from Kalamazoo, Michigan who advocates for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered people.
Opinion polls show North Carolina voters are in favor of traditional marriage, but support for the Marriage Amendment has wavered as ads questioned its effect on health benefits for the children of single parents and the victims of domestic violence.
Supporters of Amendment One have called those fears false, backed by a group of conservative prosecutors in a last minute round of TV ads.
Opponents produced a white paper endorsed by law school professors from every law school in the state.
Early voting wraps up Saturday.