On election day 80 percent of North Dakotans cast their ballots against Measure 5, which was an attempt by conservation activists to divert some of North Dakota’s river of tax revenues into their own pockets. When the conservationists turned in their petitions to put the issue on the ballot they had over 41,000 signatures. On election day, they’d get just over 51,000 votes.
It was an epic drubbing, and a costly one at that given the millions they spent marketing the measure.
But Valley News Live reports that the deep-pocketed conservation groups may not be done with North Dakota yet. Voters have been getting survey calls post-election asking them why they may have voted against the measure (some of you SAB readers have emailed me about this), and the conservationists aren’t ruling out another measure.
“We have not ruled anything out yet,” Ducks Unlimited chairman Steve Adair told VNL. ” I mean we want to work the legislative session and see if we can find a solution there that really meets the challenges and tools that we need. If we’re not able to do that, we will take a look at another measure in the future.”
The conservationists burned a lot of bridges with their shrill, bruising campaign for Measure 5. They made enemies out of a raft of business, education, and industry groups in the state. I suspect Mr. Adair and his lobbyists are going to be about as welcome as ebola in Bismarck when the Legislature meets.
I’d be very surprised if the Legislature did anything on conservation beyond Governor Jack Dalrymple’s proposed expansion of the existing Outdoor Heritage Fund up to $50 million, and even that may be in question after the drubbing Measure 5 took.
The conservationists may not be aware of this fact yet, but they shot themselves in the foot with Measure 5. The echoes of that loss are going to be with them for years to come.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fallout from the Measure 5 debacle didn’t begin to reflect in the membership rates for groups like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever in North Dakota. From what I’m hearing, there are a lot of men and women who are through with those groups.