The measure earned the support of Republicans and Democrats in Mississippi — including both of the major parties’ nominees for governor — but some hesitated to support it, including outgoing Republican Gov. Haley Barbour.
Opponents said the measure would have criminalized birth control, affected in vitro fertilization practices and could even have led to physicians declining to perform chemotherapy on pregnant women for fear of legal repercussions.
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How Mississippi beat Personhood
In the end, those concerns won out, with the amendment trailing 57 percent to 43 percent in the 60 percent of precincts reporting.
Personhood supporters had tried to pass a similar measure in Colorado in 2008 and 2010, but voters there rejected it more than 2 to 1 both times. The measure’s supporters have indicated they may try it in other states next year.
Tuesday’s election also featured a pair of governor’s races.
In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) was easily reelected to another term. Beshear was leading his race by more than 20 points at press time, despite his state’s conservative bent and Kentucky’s continued economic hardships.
Republicans had targeted the race earlier this year but were never able to close the gap on the popular governor, and state Senate President David Williams’s (R) gubernatorial campaign struggled from the start.
In Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) easily defeated Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree (D) in the race to replace Barbour, who cannot seek reelection after two terms. Republicans were also hoping to win a majority in the state House in Mississippi, which would give the GOP control over the state’s governance and provide them command of every legislative chamber and governorship in the Deep South.
DuPree made history as the first African American nominee for governor since Reconstruction, but polls consistently showed that he had little chance in this increasingly Republican state.
Other elections being held Tuesday included a recall vote on Arizona state Senate President Russell Pearce (R), a special election that could leave the Iowa state Senate in a leadership tie, and some ballot issues on voting rights in Maine and Mississippi.