November 9, 2011 by staff
In Ohio, voters overwhelmingly turned back Senate Bill 5, which sought to restrict collective bargaining rights for state public workers. The result was a major victory for labor unions and their Democratic allies — and a rebuke of first-term Republican Gov. John Kasich, who championed the law.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Reginald Fields reports:
The referendum on the law, which was Issue 2 on the ballot, was defeated 61 percent to 39 percent in a major victory for unions representing the 360,000 public employees whose power the law would have significantly curtailed. And it has given Democrats, who were crushed at the polls in Ohio just one year ago, a surge of momentum heading into next year’s elections.
The outcome gave a boost to labor organizations and Democrats, whose recall effort came up short this summer in Wisconsin, where Republicans have also moved to curb collective bargaining rights for state employees.
“The results tonight are a tremendous victory — not just for Democrats but for all Ohio families,” Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement. “Voters were asked if they support John Kasich’s anti-middle class agenda and they responded with a resounding ‘NO.’”
For his part, a humbled Kasich said, “It’s clear the people have spoken.” He pledged to re-evaluate how to lead the state going forward.
“I heard their voices. I understand their decision. And frankly, I respect what the people have to say in an effort like this,” Kasich said from the statehouse in Columbus. “And as a result of that, it requires me to take a deep breath and to spend some time to reflect on what happened here.”
In Mississippi, meanwhile, voters blocked an amendment that would have recognized a fertilized egg as a person under the state’s constitution, an effort widely viewed as an attempt to outlaw abortion.
Gary Pettus of the Clarion-Ledger reports:
The contentious Personhood Amendment failed in Mississippi by a wide margin, unofficial and incomplete returns showed Tuesday night.
With about 90 percent of the vote counted, the initiative was headed for certain defeat.
Opponents of the measure argued it would have far-reaching consequences, such as criminalizing birth control and restricting in vitro fertilization practices.
Mississippi voters also picked a new governor to replace Republican Haley Barbour, who was term-limited. As expected, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant handily defeated Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, a Democrat.
Democrats were able to maintain control of the governor’s office in Kentucky, where Steve Beshear won re-election by a wide margin over Republican state Senate president David Williams despite the Bluegrass state’s conservative leanings and ongoing economic struggles.
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