After taking an electoral beating for more than two years, Democrats finally seem to be getting some of their mojo back just in time for the 2012 election.
Democrats scored major wins at polls across the country yesterday, giving the party a much-needed morale boost one year before voters decide Obama’s reelection fate.
National Democratic leaders are touting Election Day 2011 results as a referendum on the conservative agenda that has gained a foothold since 2010. In reality, the significance of the results is probably more tempered — by the numbers, Republicans actually won the state legislative battle.
But Democrats were emboldened by victories in several ballot initiatives and local races with national implications, with voters vindicating the party’s agenda on major issues like collective bargaining, abortion, and immigration.
Here’s a rundown of the key votes and issues:
- Ohio: Voters overwhelmingly rejected the state’s new anti-union law, which stripped public-sector workers, including first responders, of almost all of their collective bargaining rights. The vote may not be a good indicator of Ohio’s political winds — voters also approved a Tea Party initiative to repeal Obamacare — but it did prove that Big labour can still deliver.
- Mississippi: A proposed “Personhood” amendment to the state’s constitution was surprisingly defeated, delivering a big win to abortion-rights advocates.
- Arizona: Republican State Senate President Russell Pearce, the architect of the the state’s controversial immigration law, was ousted in Arizona’s first-ever state senate recall.
- Maine: A vote to reinstate same-day voter registration, which traditionally benefits Democrats. The state’s Republican legislature tried to scrap the provision earlier this year.
- Kentucky: Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear won a second term, handily defeating Republican state Senate President David Williams. While Beshear’s win was expected — and likely won’t do much to help Obama — it is an indication that Democrats are making inroads in the traditional Republican stronghold.
- Mayoral Races: Democrats cruised to victory in several big-city mayoral races, ensuring that Obama’s reelection campaign has powerful surrogates in key battleground states. In Charlotte, the site of the 2012 DNC convention, Democrat Anthony Foxx won in a landslide. Democrats also won mayoral races in Charleston, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Houston.
The one major loss for Democrats was in Virginia, where Republicans gained control of the State Senate — and the Congressional redistricting process.
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