Tim Eyman’s failure to turn in signatures yesterday on Referendum 65 is not surprising. What is surprising is that many in the media view this as some anomaly. KIRO radio this morning called it one of his few failures. Likewise so did the public radio station in Tacoma yesterday.
However Andrew over at NPI Blog came much closer to the truth this morning when he headlined his post “Eyman’s Failure the Latest in a Series of Losses” Neal Modie in his article in the PI this morning, “Eyman Fails to Deliver”has an inside headline of Eyman: public image out of date. He continued:
“The public perception of the attention-loving Eyman has been that of a successful promoter of tax-cutting or tax-limiting initiatives. But that perception is out of date.
With the failure of Referendum 65, only two of the last six ballot measures sponsored by him have reached the ballot. Voters approved only one of the two, last year’s innocuous I-900. It empowered the state auditor to conduct performance audits of state and local government agencies, but the Legislature had already passed a similar law.
“Now he’s coming in and hijacking issues and shoving his way into an issue because it’s become a business for him. It’s how he gets paid,” said Chris Vance, former chairman of the state Republican Party and now a consultant with The Gallatin Group in Seattle.”
Also to be noted here is that the number of signatures Eyman claimed were collected is not just a few thousand short but actually about 30,000 signatures short. Here is how I arrive at that number. The number of validated signatures of registered voters Referendum 65 required to be placed on the November ballot was 112,440.
Campaigns however always target to collect about 20 to 25% more because many signatures turn out to be invalid for a number of reasons. These include people not registered to vote, or not signing with the address they are registered at, or signing more than once.
Subtracting the 105,103 Eyman claims he had from 112,440 left him 7,337 signatures short. Now take 20% of 112,440. That’s 22,588. Eyman and the churches really needed another 29,925 signatures to be fairly certain of getting on the ballot. They were almost 30,000 signatures short of guaranteeing success.
Eyman’s only remaining hope for success this year with signatures is Initiative 917 He claims he has about half the needed signatures with a month to go. But he is not doing it with volunteers. The truth is that since his first initiative, he has had to buy signatures by paying out of state signature gatherers to help him.
Even what should have been a popular volunteer effort on performance audits last year was mostly from paid signature gathers. Eyman’s main source of funding for the last several years has been one individual, a retired businessman named Michael Dunmire. Without this sugar daddy we would see even less of Eyman.