Peach State People's Pledge

Posted by Aaron Scherb on July 11, 2014

Earlier this week, Michelle Nunn, the Democratic candidate running for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, sent a letter to the two Republican candidates in the race asking them to take a "Peach State pledge." This voluntary agreement, commonly referred to as a People's Pledge, is negotiated between campaigns and would help eliminate secret out-of-state spending in the race and give more influence to everyday Georgians.

Common Cause and Public Citizen have launched a campaign encouraging congressional and gubenatorial candidates across the country to agree to a People's Pledge. Such an agreement has many benefits. In addition to reducing secret outside political spending, a People's Pledge can reduce negative advertising, increase the role of small donors, and give campaigns more control of their message.

A Common Cause Massachusetts report analyzing the Brown-Warren 2012 Senate race in Massachusetts corroborated these benefits. The study found that secret spending was five times greater in other key Senate races than in the Brown-Warren contest (in which dark money made up only 4% of total spending). Additionally, small donations to candidates outmatched outside spending by a 3-to-1 margin, and the race had less than half as much negative advertising compared to other key Senate races.

Michelle Nunn is the 4th major U.S. Senate candidate to call for a People's Pledge.  In New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen has challenged her opponent to agree to a People's Pledge.  In Kentucky, Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes has repeatedly asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate a pledge.  And in Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan has asked​ Senator Mark Begich to take a pledge called an "Alaska Agreement."

Office: Common Cause Georgia, Common Cause National

Issues: Money in Politics, Money in Politics

Tags: People's Pledge

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