On May 1, voters in Lubbock passed Proposition A, a local ordinance that designated the city as a “sanctuary for the unborn,” with 62 percent of voters voting in favor. The election, which made Lubbock the largest city in the United States to establish such a designation, attracted heavy campaign spending by both sides as the trail to Election Day heated up.
With the election now past, here’s a look back at how well the money in this race translated into votes in this important South Plains contest.
Three political action committees (PACs) participated in the Proposition A campaign in Lubbock. In support of the measure was Protect Destiny Lubbock, while Protect Lubbock Taxpayers and Lubbock Coalition for Healthcare Access opposed the measure. You can read more about each of them and the lead-up to this contentious race here.
Here is how much the groups raised and spent before Election Day:
|PAC||Position on Proposition A||Amount Raised |
(1/1/21 – 4/23/21)
|Amount Spent |
(1/1/21 – 4/23/21)
|Lubbock Coalition for Healthcare Access||Oppose||$411,350||$156,861|
|Protect Destiny Lubbock||Support||$141,865||$47,425|
|Protect Lubbock Taxpayers||Oppose||$2,305||$2,235|
The top fundraiser of the group was Lubbock Coalition for Healthcare Access, which opposed the passage of Proposition A. As noted in a previous TUSA article, this group received donations from Planned Parenthood Federation of America, various local Planned Parenthood organizations, ACLU Texas, and Dallas philanthropist Cecilia Boone among its notable top donors. Joining Lubbock Coalition for Healthcare Access in opposition to Proposition A was Protect Lubbock Taxpayers, which spent just over $2,200 before Election Day. The group received the majority of its support from small-dollar donors, with no donor to the group giving over $1,000 in a single contribution.
In support of the measure was Protect Destiny Lubbock, which brought in $141,865 for its campaign before Election Day. The group’s top contributor, Paul Stell, donated $20,000 to the PAC, while Carl Pepper, Barry Weaver, and Ric Canup each followed Stell on the list of the group’s top contributors with $10,000 donations.
According to Lubbock County, 34,301 people cast ballots in the Proposition A election, with 62 percent of voters supporting Proposition A. Interestingly, 68 percent of the votes cast in this election came in early, with 23,281 voters casting early ballots, versus 7,747 ballots cast on Election Day and 3,273 cast by absentee vote.
Here is a look at the cost per vote for the groups involved in the Proposition A election.
|Position on Proposition A||Total Votes||Total Raised||Cost-Per-Vote (Based on Total Raised)||Total Spent||Cost-Per-Vote (Based on Total Spent)|
The group in support of Proposition A saw a much lower cost per vote than the groups in opposition to the measure when the final votes in this election were tallied on Election Day. In total, when factoring in the money spent by all three groups in this election, the cost per vote in support of Proposition A was $2.21 per vote, while the cost per vote in opposition to Proposition A was over $10 more, coming in at $12.36 per vote.
The cost-per-vote here is calculated using the available campaign finance reports from the City of Lubbock. Because those were due eight days prior to the election, it is likely that they do not account for additional spending on behalf of the PACs listed here in the final days leading up to the vote. Even if no additional money came in for any of the three groups, the cost-per-vote could have been substantially higher. For supporting votes, it could be as high as $6.62 per vote, and for votes in opposition, as high as $32.13, based on the total raised by all three groups. Regardless of whether “total spent”or “total raised” is used to calculate the cost, votes in opposition were at least four times as costly as those in support of the ordinance.
Overall, the election to decide Proposition A was much more expensive than other recent elections in Lubbock. The nature of the ordinance drew outsized attention from special interest groups on both sides of the issue, in a way that even Lubbock mayoral races typically do not.
During the 2020 mayoral election in the city, for example, incumbent Dan Pope and challenger Stephen Sanders combined to raise $153,967 for their campaigns, while the groups involved in the Proposition A election raised $555,520 during roughly the same time period, according to their 30th day before Election Day and 8th day before Election Day campaign finance reports.
While most dollars raised and spent typically equals a win, it was not the case here. Despite outspending the other side more than 3 to 1, opponents of Proposition A were unable to translate their greater financial backing to greater turnout on Election Day. The ordinance to ban abortion, supported by 62 percent of Lubbock voters, will go into effect June 1.
For a full look at the campaign finance reports filed by the three groups involved in the Proposition A election, please visit City of Lubbock’s campaign finance reports here.