COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state’s new collective bargaining law was defeated Tuesday after an expensive union-backed campaign that pitted firefighters, police officers and teachers against the Republican establishment.

In a political blow to GOP Gov. John Kasich, voters handily rejected the law, which would have limited the bargaining abilities of 350,000 unionized public workers.

With more than a quarter of the votes counted late Tuesday, 63 percent of votes were to reject the law.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said victory for unions was achieved among Democrats and Republicans in urban and rural counties.

“Ohio sent a message to every politician out there: Go in and make war on your employees rather than make jobs with your employees, and you do so at your own peril,” he said.

Kasich said, “It’s clear that the people have spoken.” He said he would take a deep breath and contemplate the loss — and how best to move forward.

“In a campaign like this, you give it your best, and if you don’t win and the people speak in a loud voice, you pay attention to what they have to say, and you think about it,” Kasich said Tuesday night.

Kasich said he has made creating jobs his priority and he’s beginning to see his policies work.

But Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, at a celebration in Columbus, said Republicans and Kasich overreached on the collective bargaining law.

“He literally thought he knew more than everyone else,” Redfern said.

Asked whether the law, called Issue 2, was a referendum on Kasich, Redfern said, “Absolutely. He was the face of the campaign. The people of the state pushed back.”

Labor and business interests poured more than $30 million into the nationally watched campaign, and turnout was high for an off-year election.

The law hadn’t taken effect yet. Tuesday’s result means the state’s current union rules will stand, at least until the GOP-controlled Legislature determines its next move.

Republican House Speaker William Batchelder predicted last week that the more palatable elements of the collective bargaining bill — such as higher minimum contributions on worker health insurance and pensions — are likely to be revisited after the dust settles.