Among the first signs of trouble for California’s Proposition 37 and Washington’s Initiative 522 were critical newspaper editorial writers who found flaws in the food-labeling measures, both of which ended up narrowly failing at the ballot box. But this year in Oregon and Colorado, anyone looking to newspaper editorials for an early cue on how Measure 92 (OR) or Initiative 105 (CO) are going to come out will have to be satisfied with mixed results. The Eugene Register-Guard in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley, the state’s most influential newspaper outside of Portland, is the first big daily to endorse a ballot measure requiring labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In urging voters to approve Measure 92, the Register-Guard said that Oregon should be on the “cutting edge” of the GMO-labeling movement. That position marks a reversal in the R-G’s previous editorial stance on the issue. The newspaper opposed Measure 27 in 2002, which was overwhelming defeated by Oregon voters in every county, opining then that the Beaver State should not be out of sync with national food markets. This year, the Eugene newspaper says the fact that peer-reviewed scientific studies have found no evidence that GMOs pose a food safety risk to humans “is irrelevant if a problem exists in the minds of a majority of voters.” “If Oregonians have concerns that genetic engineering may have health consequences, then they have the right to know if their food contains GMO ingredients,” the editorial states. The Denver Post, Colorado’s largest daily newspaper, has come out against I-105, calling the GMO food-labeling initiative “a badly flawed measure.” The Post says that the ballot measure will hurt Colorado farmers and food producers without providing any health benefit to consumers. “Backers of the measure say all they want is transparency. So Prop 105 would require the phrase ‘Produced with Genetic Engineering’ to appear on certain foods. Such a rule might be relatively harmless if it were carefully written and implemented as part of national labeling law, but neither is the case,’ states the Post. It goes on to say, “To begin with, the measure would put Colorado food producers who ship to other states at a disadvantage. Will grocery stores in those states be as willing to stock Colorado products once they stand out in this fashion?” The Post points out the many exemptions to the proposed labeling law, from cheese to alcoholic beverages. “Either GMO labeling is a vital consumer tool or it is not,” the newspaper states. While the GMO food-labeling ballot measures in Colorado and Oregon are similar, the campaigns for them are not equal efforts. Colorado’s “No on 105” is clearly dominant in the Centennial State. The “No” side went up on television in early September and has a targeted direct mail campaign well underway. “No on 105” campaign finance reports, filed with the Colorado Secretary of State, show more than $9.7 million raised through contributions and more than $4.2 million in cash remaining to be spent during the final three weeks. By contrast, the “Right to Know Colorado GMO” campaign has raised only $320,696, with just under $82,000 remaining as a cash reserve. That is not enough to conduct a statewide operation, especially in a year when campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate are dominating across all advertising platforms. Oregon’s “Yes on Measure 92” campaign is clearly not as cash-strapped as its Colorado counterpart. It has raised more than $4.2 million and was recently sitting on $626,000 in cash, according to filings with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. The Oregon “Yes” campaign has gotten contributions from the same organic industry sources which helped finance the unsuccessful California and Washington state campaigns. In addition to getting money to support the GMO food-labeling initiative, the Oregon campaign is getting the services of SKDKnickerbocker, a Washington D.C.-based issues management firm with close ties to the White House. Oregon’s “No on 92 Coalition” has raised more than $7.2 million in contributions and is committed to spending at least $1 million more. In both states, the campaign against labeling genetically engineered food is financed by major food manufacturers and the biotechnology industry, while it is also opposed by most major farm groups. The “No” campaigns in both states have enlisted Winner & Mandabach, a Los Angeles-based political consulting firm that specializes in killing initiatives.