At last, more people are wising up to the GOP's plans and denying them. ---BBB
November 9, 2011
Ohio voters reject anti-union law; Mississippi says no to 'personhood'
By Paul West | McClatchy-Tribune News Service
WASHINGTON — Ohio voters overturned a controversial law that would have weakened public employee unions, and Mississippians rejected a "personhood" anti-abortion initiative, in elections Tuesday that suggested at least a pause in the strong conservative Republican trend that swept Democrats from office in 2010.
In the marquee fight of the day, a successful push by organized labor resulted in repeal of Ohio's new law that would have sharply curbed collective bargaining rights for 350,000 government workers. The restrictive labor measure was passed by the Republican Legislature and signed by newly elected Republican Gov. John Kasich, who led the unsuccessful effort to defend the law.
One year after getting shellacked by Republicans, President Barack Obama, whose poll ratings continue to languish, maintained a low profile. The only reaction from the White House Tuesday night was a brief statement from Vice President Joe Biden celebrating labor's victory in Ohio.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in Columbus to cheer a badly needed victory for organized labor and its Democratic allies, called the results a defeat for "those who spend their time scapegoating workers and pushing a partisan agenda."
Kasich told reporters in Columbus that the bruising defeat would force him to "take a deep breath and spend some time reflecting on what happened here."
In the Phoenix suburbs, state Senate President Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's contentious immigration law, was defeated fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in the state's first recall election of a sitting lawmaker.
"I'm grateful for the battles that we've won," Pearce said, according to the Associated Press. "If being recalled is being the price for keeping these promises, then so be it."
In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, won re-election over Republican David Williams, the state Senate president, and third-party candidate Gatewood Galbraith. A year ago, the election of Republican Rand Paul to a Senate seat from Kentucky was one of the nation's biggest tea party-inspired victories.
In Mississippi, voters chose another Republican, Phil Bryant, to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Haley Barbour. Democratic nominee Johnny DuPree had sought to become the state's first African American governor of the modern era.
At the same time, Mississippi voters firmly rejected Initiative 26, which would have effectively defined birth control methods like IUDs and the morning-after pill as murder. Barbour supported the measure, as did both major party gubernatorial candidates. Bryant, the state's lieutenant governor, was quoted as telling supporters in Tupelo this week that "Satan wins" if the amendment was defeated, describing the statewide campaign over the measure as "a battle of good and evil of biblical proportions."
But the measure split the anti-abortion movement, and similar initiatives have failed in recent years, including in Colorado, where the "personhood" movement is based.
Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz said that defeat of the "dangerous and divisive measure" in one of the nation's most conservative states would allow abortion-rights supporters to "breathe a sigh of relief" but that "the fight is far from over."
In another setback for newly emboldened Republican lawmakers, Maine voters repealed a law passed this year by the Republican Legislature that would have ended the tradition of same-day registration. And in Iowa, Democrats won a special election for a vacant state Senate seat to keep Republicans from gaining control of the entire government in Des Moines.
Even as strategists warned against reading too much into the results of an off-year election, the 2011 elections were enough of a mixed bag to provide talking points for partisans on both sides. Last month, Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was re-elected. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat who was elevated to the job when the former governor moved to the U.S. Senate, was narrowly elected to fill out the term in the face of anti-Obama sentiment in his state.
Although the president's re-election campaign was active in Ohio's labor fight, Obama personally avoided the most closely fought contests. In Virginia, prominent Democratic officeholders stayed away when the president's bus rolled through last month.
Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus told Fox News that the "stand-offish approach that Democrats are having toward this president" reflected a lack of enthusiasm that would carry over into the 2012 election.
A growing trend of punishing lawmakers for their role in passing contentious measures was the focus of several recall elections. In addition to the Arizona effort, the Michigan teachers union was attempting to unseat a Republican state senator over his role in passing laws designed to weaken teacher tenure.
Municipal elections were held around the country, including in San Francisco, where Mayor Ed Lee, appointed to the position earlier this year, was attempting to become the first Asian American elected to the city's top job. In Philadelphia, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter, won re-election and in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won a four-year term to the job she inherited when Mayor Sheila Dixon left office after an embezzlement conviction.
Three states were electing legislatures. In Virginia, Republicans were within reach of gaining control of all branches of the government in Richmond for only the second time since the Civil War. Obama carried the state last time and it will be a battleground in 2012.
In Mississippi, one of few southern states not totally in Republican hands, Republicans were attempting to gain a majority in the Legislature. New Jersey's Legislature remained under Democratic control.
Paul West writes for the Tribune Washington Bureau. (Times staff writer Stephen Ceasar contributed to this report.)
Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/09/129747/ohio-voters-reject-anti-union.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz1dDjSgzzp