Phase two in the media campaign to keep the Legislature in Juneau will begin in the next few weeks under the direction of Anchorage-based public relations firm Northwest Strategies.
The Alaska Committee, the Juneau group working to block the legislative-move initiative, told the Juneau Assembly on Monday that meetings with Northwest Strategies will begin this week to devise a media campaign that will run up to the Nov. 5 general election.
The campaign to get voters to reject the measure likely will include television, e-mail, direct mail, newspaper and other forms of communication, said Alaska Committee chairman Win Gruening.
A radio-based media campaign launched in July has reached about half of the voters, Gruening said. In that campaign the Alaska Committee signed a sole-source contract with the Washington, D.C., firm Edmond, Hackney and Associates Inc.
Alaska Committee campaign manager Christopher Clark said the radio campaign cost about $300,000, with ads targeting audiences statewide.
The Alaska Committee has committed so far to spend just under $500,000 on the whole campaign, but that figure could increase, Gruening said.
He said the radio spots aim to educate listeners that Ballot Measure 2 will ask voters to move the Legislature to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough or Anchorage and repeal a measure ensuring that voters also approve the cost.
The radio campaign was launched in response to polls showing that 60 percent of registered voters were not aware that the measure was on the November ballot.
Gruening told the Assembly the ads have been a success in getting the message out that the move would be unnecessarily costly and that the state, with a looming budget deficit, cannot afford to issue a blank check to pay for it.
"We had people come by the (committee's) booth at the Tanana Fair and basically repeat verbatim portions of the ad that they've heard," Gruening said. "That tells me that the ads are being heard and they're being internalized."
Along with setting up booths at different fairs across the state, Gruening said, the committee has met with editorial boards at newspapers and mailed informational packets to 178 candidates across the state to persuade them to oppose the move.
The committee has set up a speaker's bureau to organize Alaska Committee representatives to speak at service clubs, conventions and other forums throughout the state.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.