Breaking news: Tomblin wins 2011 West Virginia Governor election

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October 4, 2011

Governor of West Virginia, 2011
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEarl Ray Tomblin Incumbent 49.6% 149,202
     Republican Bill Maloney 47% 141,656
     Mountain Party Bob Henry Baber 2% 6,083
     Independent Marla Ingels 1% 2,875
     American Third Position Harry Bertram 0.4% 1,111
     Write-In Phil Hudok 0% 76
     Write-In Donald Lee Underwood 0% 54
     Write-In John R. "Rick" Bartlett 0% 27
Total Votes 301,084
Election Results via West Virginia Secretary of State

Charleston, WV: If ever there were a nail-biting October election for a 14-month gubernatorial reign, tonight was it. The Mountain State's acting governor, Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, faced off against four challengers: Republican Bill Maloney, Mountain Party candidate Bob Henry Baber, Independent candidate Marla Ingels, and Harry Bertram, who represented the American Third Position party.

The West Virginia Secretary of State hasn't released its official results yet, but the Associated Press declared Tomblin the winner at approximately 9:15 this evening.[1] Tonight's race was closer than initially expected, although a poll released Monday showed Tomblin's advantage over Maloney dwindled to just 1 point.[2] But with 98% of the precincts reporting, Tomblin led Maloney by 6,244 votes. The third-party and write-in candidates managed to capture a cumulative 10,240 votes - roughly 3.4% of the total votes cast.

West Virginia

There was a lot on the line with this election. With his win tonight, Tomblin technically only earned another 14 month term in office, serving the remainder of Joe Manchin's unexpired term. But now, in addition to setting the 2012 legislative agenda of the West Virginia General Assembly, he is in a much better position to win re-election to a full four-year term of his own in 2012.

On a national level, tonight's election was a huge win for the Democratic Party. Part of Maloney's campaign strategy was to tie Tomblin to President Obama and somehow translate West Virginia voters' dissatisfaction with national politics into votes for the Republican party. Tonight's showing demonstrated the ability of voters to evaluate candidates based on their own merits, and not on the actions of their national party - an advantage both parties will likely try to exploit in the remaining 2011 and upcoming 2012 gubernatorial elections.

The irony of an election with such tremendous implications? Only 25.03% of West Virginia's eligible voters cast a ballot.[3]

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