While Republicans may have narrowly captured the Virginia Senate on Tuesday, which would complete GOP control of territory that President Obama won in 2008, voters in Ohio strongly rejected Republican Gov. John Kasich’s government union reforms. Big Labor is far from dead; it spent about $30 million to repeal Kasich’s reforms and won with 61% of the vote. As Michael Barone notes, when CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered a similar defeat on a similar government union reform package in 2005, the Governator never really recovered. That much of that $30 million originally came from taxpayers, who pay government worker salaries that end up fueling Big Labor’s drive to keep the money flowing their way, pours a little salt in the wound.
In retrospect, Kasich should have nationalized the Ohio ballot initiative, as Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s Republicans did a few months ago when Big Labor and the Democrats attempted to recall enough state Senators to get Walker’s reforms overturned. Nationalizing those races brought money and attention to bear, leveled the playing field and helped keep the WI Senate in GOP hands. Walker’s reforms survived, and have been proven effective. The Ohio repeal largely flew under the radar, only making national headlines when Mitt Romney appeared to flip-flop on it last week.
There’s no getting around the fact that while Ohio voters put themselves on the record in strong opposition to ObamaCare (66%), they also put themselves on the record in strong opposition to rolling back the power of Big Labor over state and municipal budgets. The state needs fiscal reform but voted to retain the status quo. That choice isn’t likely to end well for Ohioans.