Election Day 2011 may yield clues to 2012

By United Press International   |   Nov. 8, 2011 at 9:45 PM
| License Photo

Voters Tuesday decided, among other things, whether to repeal Ohio's new collective bargaining law and whether to pass Mississippi's personhood amendment.

A special election primary in Oregon was held to select nominees for former Rep. David Wu's seat. State Sen. Suzanne Bonamici held a wide lead over her challengers and likely Republican contender Rob Cornilles, a sports business consultant, faces marginal primary opposition, Politico reported.

In Ohio, early returns indicated the initiative to repeal a law that curtailed collective bargaining rights that has drawn national interest was comfortably ahead and was likely to be a win for unions and a huge blow to Republican Gov. John Kasich, political observers said.

"It's a referendum in the most purple state in America about whether or not the newly empowered right is committing electoral suicide by overreach," the AFL-CIO's Jeff Hauser said.

Separately, Ohioans voted on an initiative that would invalidate part of the Affordable Care Act healthcare reform law.

Mississippi voted on a so-called personhood amendment that would criminalize abortion and limit in-vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control.

"We're just going to the heart of the matter, which is, 'Is this a person or not?'" asked Les Riley, founder of Personhood Mississippi, who initiated the state's effort. "God says it is, and science has confirmed it."

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, easily won a second term in a culturally conservative state strapped with high unemployment that pundits said should have been ripe for a Republican win. Beshear's campaign positioned him as a fiscally responsible leader while attacking Republican challenger, state Senate President David Williams, as a bristly career politician -- and Beshear beat Williams by 23 points, Politico said.

"We never wanted Williams to get momentum and [we] wanted to define the race before he had a chance to," Beshear campaign manager Bill Hyers said.

Beshear is the second Democrat this year to win a gubernatorial race in a conservative state, following on Earl Ray Tomblin's Oct. 4 victory in West Virginia.

Up for recall in Arizona is state Senate President Russell Pearce, who championed the hard-line immigration bill last year in the Legislature.

Polls indicate a tight race between Pearce and Jerry Lewis, a Republican charter school executive who has tried to paint Pearce as an extremist whose views cramp the state, Politico said.

"We're seen as a very unfriendly business state," Lewis said. "We're seen as something akin to 1964 Alabama. People do not want to move their businesses here."

Pearce has called the immigration law -- portions of which have been stayed while several challenges work their way through the courts -- "good for everybody."

In Virginia, state Republicans hope to pick up a net two state Senate seats to reclaim the majority in that chamber and full control of both chambers and the governorship.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which has invested $1.8 million in the campaigns, has targeted six seats, but says two in particular as bellwether campaigns for 2012.

"To the extent we are successful in Prince William [County] and Fairfax County, it will mean very good things for Republicans in 2012," RSLC President Chris Jankowski said.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
share with facebook
share with twitter
Trending Stories