Tomblin wins election as West Virginia’s next governor

By westvirginia on October 4, 2011
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By Steven Allen Adams | West Virginia Watchdog

CHARLESTON — After a hard-fought campaign, West Virginia’s voters decided to stick with the man who has acted as governor for the last 11 months.

Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, the Senate President since 1995 and acting governor since November 2010, was election to finish the term of former governor Joe Manchin, which is up in 2012.

According to unofficial statewide results compiled by the West Virginia Secretary of State‘s office, Tomblin won with 49 percent support, while his closest challenger, Republican businessman Bill Maloney, carried 47 percent of the vote.

“Tonight’s result is proof that West Virginians appreciate ideas, they value experience, and they want our state to continue to move forward,” Tomblin said. “I have always tried to do what is best for all of West Virginia, from the Northern and Eastern Panhandles to the Ohio River and the Southern coalfields. We have geographic differences, but we are united by our desire to move our state forward and make it all that it can be.

Tomblin gave his victory speech at the Charleston Marriott to a packed room. Maloney have his concession speech at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown. Maloney called Tomblin to concede and congratulate him.

“He won, and that proves the power of democracy,” Maloney said. “The people made their choice, and I respect their decision. I urge all of you to work with him when and where you can. And where you disagree, by all means, make your voices heard.  Opposition is the essence of democratic participation. But remain a loyal opposition, always.”

The election was a heated and often negative one with Maloney trying to pin Tomblin to his family’s greyhound breeding business in TV ads. The state subsidizes greyhound breeders by paying them on how well their dogs do at the state’s tracks. The subsidy is funded by racetrack video lottery, and Tomblin has voted to increase the subsidies.

Tomblin fired back with negative ads as welln, accusing Maloney of doing nothing to prevent a former company of his, North American Drillers, from moving across the border to Pennsylvania. Maloney, who founded North American Drillers in the 1980s, sold his share of the company in 2006, but still received compensation from the company as late as 2011.

Both national party governors association were highly involved with direct-mail and ad buys. The Democratic Governors Association, through America Works USA, spent $2,443,003 on independent expenditures. The Republican Governors Association, through the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, spent $3,444,199 on independent expenditures.

Tomblin has acted as governor since Manchin won election to the U.S. Senate in a special election last year. Manchin congratulated Tomblin on his victory.

“I congratulate my friend Earl Ray Tomblin for this well-deserved victory tonight, and I truly look forward to continuing to work with him on our shared priorities for our state,” Manchin said. “The people of West Virginia have a legacy of balancing their books, living within their means and taking care of the people who most need help – and I know that we will continue that legacy together.”

Watch video below of remarks by Tomblin, his campaign chair Tom Heywood, and state Democratic Party chair Larry Puccio:

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