Money can't buy toothiness.
The final spending tallies on the battle over Ballot Measure 26-151 show the pro-fluoride campaign outspent opponents nearly 3-to-1—and still lost by 20 percent of the vote in the May 21 special election.
Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the pro-fluoride campaign, spent $889,038 during the fluoride fight. The anti-fluoridation campaign, Clean Water Portland, spent $300,396.
The final (if still unofficial) vote tallies show the fluoridation measure failing 60.3 percent to 39.6 percent.
And fluoridators can't entirely blame low turnout: At 42 percent, voter turnout was significantly higher than the last two special elections (36 percent in 2011; 19 percent in 2009.)
In an interview with WW this week about her victory, Clean Water Portland director Kim Kaminski said she wouldn't give her opponents strategy tips for free. "if they want to hire me and pay me the big bucks to consult [about] what they did good and what they did bad, sign me up," she said.
The pro-fluoride campaign indeed spent much of its money on a consulting firm: Its largest expense was $204,081 to Mark Wiener's political strategy firm, WinningMark.
(UPDATE, 10 am, June 3: An eagle-eyed reader notes that the payments to WinningMark were for creating and printing advertising, ranging from online ads to billboards and leaflets.)
The largest expense for the anti-fluoride campaign? $50,388 to Bridgetown Printing.
In other words, their biggest cost was yard signs.