Ducks Unlimited was the most visible group behind Measure 5 on the November ballot last year. That measure, if it had passed, would have created a slush fund for conservation interests like Ducks Unlimited.
The group spent millions pushing first a petition drive, which garnered about 40,000 signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot, and then the campaign which ultimately garnered just roughly 50,000 votes at the ballot box.
In all, the Measure 5 proponents spent over $7 million in total to get about 2o percent of the vote.
It was a colossal and very costly failure, and it’s clear the group is still smarting from it.
At the 2013 legislature Ducks Unlimited had no fewer than seven registered lobbyists, including regional boss Steve Adair. A lobbyist friend of mine pointed out to me yesterday that not only is Adair conspicuously absent from the 2015 legislative session, but DU has cut their lobbying efforts in half.
The North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society, which was also a Measure 5 backer, also cut back on lobbying from 1 registered lobbyist in 2013 to zero in 2015.
“The conservationists burned a lot of bridges with their shrill, bruising campaign for Measure 5,” I wrote shortly after the election last year. “I suspect Mr. Adair and his lobbyists are going to be about as welcome as ebola in Bismarck when the Legislature meets.”
That seems to be the case.