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Previewing tomorrow's political contests

*** The races of 2011: Ohio ballot measure and Virginia state Senate contests: Despite all of the focus on the White House race that takes place a year from now, don’t lose sight of the 2011 contests that take place tomorrow -- a couple of which could provide some clues about next year’s presidential election. One is the Issue 2 ballot referendum in Ohio on the anti-collective-bargaining legislation for public-sector workers that Gov. John Kasich (R) signed into law earlier this year. A win by Democrats and organized labor (who are urging a “No” vote on Issue 2) would suggest that Democrats are more motivated in the Buckeye State than they were a year ago. A win by Republicans and business interests (who are supporting a “Yes” vote) could signal that they remain in the driver’s seat and that there is something to the pessimistic talk about Ohio from the Obama camp. The other races that could offer clues about 2012 are the state Senate contests in Virginia, where Republicans are trying to win control of that chamber and where the smart money is on a GOP victory. And don’t miss the special election in Iowa that will decide control of the state Senate there, too.

*** The races of 2011: GOV contests in KY and MS: Also tomorrow, there are gubernatorial contests in Kentucky (where Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is expected to cruise to re-election over Republican David Williams) and in Mississippi (where Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to succeed term-limited Gov. Haley Barbour). And Mississippi is the venue for a highly contentious ballot measure on abortion. As the New York Times recently wrote, the state’s proposed constitutional amendment “would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.” More: “The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and ‘morning-after pills,’ which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.”