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Calif. Prop. 23: With $26 Million Raised to Defeat Measure, Greens Launch Viral Video Campaign Featuring Actor David Arquette

Environmental groups–backed by clean energy investors and Hollywood moguls– have raised $26 million to defeat California’s Proposition 23, a measure that would rollback the state’s laws limiting greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, the Yes on 23 campaign, funded mostly by the oil and coal industry, has raised just $9 million.  And in a possible sign of dwindling cash, backers of the measure went off the air with advertising for a week. [See a list of $100K plus donors to each campaign.)

Environmentalists not only hold a 3-1 fund-raising advantage, but they also enjoy a significant advantage in terms of on-the-ground mobilization and social media strategies.  Greens are also backed by strong endorsements from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the editorial boards of almost every major newspaper in the state, and most recently, by Avatar director James Cameron, who donated $1 million to the campaign.

An Oct. 12-14 IPSOS/AP poll finds that 46% of likely California voters would vote against Proposition 23, compared to 35% who intend to vote in favor, and 19% who remain undecided.

And this week, capitalizing on their financial might, environmentalists have enlisted the help of “Scream” actor David Arquette who stars in a series of online viral videos which cost $200,000 to $250,000 to produce and that will run on YouTube and 400 to 500 websites over the next two weeks.  From the Sacramento Bee report on the “Don’t Mess with California” campaign.  See videos following:

The anti-Proposition 23 group, meanwhile, unveiled three new online ads of their own during a news conference Tuesday at the Sheraton hotel downtown.

They include a 57-second commercial “Don’t Mess with California,” which features Arquette in a dark room fighting to free himself from the grips of Texas oil companies.

Jared Ficker, chairman of the Green Technology Leadership Group, said the commercials target the independent voters largely in the 18 to 24 age bracket.

The ads, which cost $200,000 to $250,000 to produce, will run on YouTube and 400 to 500 websites over the next two weeks, he said.

Dressed in a red, white and blue karate outfit and dark red sunglasses, Arquette, the star of the “Scream” horror films, talked about his role in raising awareness about the importance of California’s green economy.

“If it takes me getting on a stupid ‘Why did you wear that?’ list at a No on 23 function, then I’ve accomplished my goal,” he said.

“I like being silly, I like karate, I like Elvis. I like doing what’s right for the


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