Election results 2011: Voters signal that GOP overreached
Election results 2011 point to cautious voters, not moving sharply left or right. Voters did deal big setbacks to some Republican causes, but it's hard to read that as a boost to Obama's reelection bid.
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said the vote would require him "to take a deep breath" and "spend some time reflecting on what happened here."Skip to next paragraph
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In Arizona, state Sen. Russell Pearce, architect of the tough immigration law that put the state at the forefront of national debate on the issue, was ousted after a recall attempt led by a fellow Republican.
In the two states where a governorship was up for grabs, Kentucky and Mississippi, voters stuck with the incumbent party, and a similar pattern held in mayoral races from Phoenix to Indianapolis.
In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) was easily reelected, while Mississippi voters picked Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant to succeed Haley Barbour (R), who could not run again because of term limits. Gov.-elect Bryant beat Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree, the first black major-party nominee for governor in Mississippi.
Voters' rejection of the Mississippi "personhood" initiative was a setback to abortion foes nationwide, who hope to see such measures passed in other states.
Concerns on the left – that the measure would criminalize abortion and so-called "morning after" contraception pills – were joined by doubts that arose among social conservatives. Governor Barbour voiced some of those worries as Election Day neared, saying the measure could be ambiguous or have unintended consequences.
American voters made choices on a number of other matters Tuesday:
•In Maine, voters repealed a new state law that required voters to register at least two days before an election. The decision will restore Election Day voter registration, a tradition of nearly four decades' standing in Maine. Voters in the state also rejected a proposal to allow casinos in certain communities.
•Mississippi voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to require that voters present government-issued identification at the polls – a move that critics see as a effort to diminish minority voting. Thirty states require all voters to show ID at the polls – many of them in the Deep South, says the National Conference of State Legislatures. Fourteen of the 30 require photo ID.
•Atlanta approved Sunday alcohol sales, while Washington State adopted a plan to close state-run liquor stores and allow large stores like Costco to sell alcohol.
•In Minnesota, voters approved many measures to renew funding of individual school districts, but often balked at providing new resources for public education.
Some electoral decisions were still wending their way through the tallying process as of Wednesday morning.
In San Francisco, interim Mayor Ed Lee held a lead among 15 candidates, but because he didn't garner a majority, the city's "instant runoff" system has kicked in. The outcome depends on how many people who voted for a different candidate as their first choice tapped Mr. Lee as their second or third choices.
He would become the city's first elected Asian-American mayor. Lee, who has led the city since Gavin Newsom became California's lieutenant governor in January, was ahead with nearly 31 percent of the vote, while the closest rival had about 18 percent.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.