Tomblin beats Maloney in WV governor's race - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Tomblin beats Maloney in WV governor's race

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Democrat Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin beat Republican challenger Bill Maloney in a battle to be the state's next governor.

The Associated Press called the race for Tomblin at 10:45 p.m. With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Tomblin had 51 percent of the vote to Maloney's 45 percent. Mountain Party candidate Jesse Johnson accumulated 3 percent of the vote, and Libertarian David Moran had 1 percent of the vote.

This isn't the first time Tomblin and Maloney faced off for the governor's office. The two competed last year in a special election for governor. Tomblin won that match with 149,202 votes to Maloney's 142,156.

Tomblin served as president of the West Virginia Senate from 1995 through 2011. After Sen. Robert C. Byrd passed away and then-Gov. Joe Manchin was elected to fill his seat, Tomblin became acting governor under the state constitution. The West Virginia Supreme Court then ruled a special election must be held and a governor elected to fill out Manchin's term. Tomblin beat out five Democrats, including Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, in a May 2011 special primary. He then faced off against Maloney in the October 2011 special general election. Tomblin was inaugurated as the state's 35th governor Nov. 14, 2011.

Tomblin made light of his continuous campaigning, saying he's seen many areas of the state over the past 24 months.

"I truly have enjoyed traveling and talking to so many residents," Tomblin said in his acceptance speech. "I've certainly been from Martinsburg to Matewan, from Weirton to Welch, and back again. And again. And again."

Tomblin said despite geographic differences, he has worked to do what is best for all West Virginians and the state has seen significant progress.

"I truly believe our state is poised for greatness," Tomblin said, "and I am proud to have played a part in getting us to this point."

Since taking the helm as governor, Tomblin has overseen the passage of several pieces of legislation, including a mine safety bill, a bill banning texting while driving and a plan to pay down the state's retirement debt. In addition, the state has operated in the black and put a substantial amount of money into the rainy day fund.

Before running for governor in 2011, Maloney had never run for political office. The Morgantown businessman has said throughout the two campaigns that industry finds the state's business and climates too harsh, and his administration would cut taxes that could harm businesses and put in place legal reform that could attract new businesses to the state.

During his concession speech, Maloney said he and his wife, Sharon, ran the campaign for their grandson's generation.

"So many children have left West Virginia," he said. "We're going to continue the fight, to speak out, to be involved in your communities. We owe it to our young people."

He asked his supporters to come together now and work with Tomblin.