Acting governor Earl Ray Tomblin has won Tuesday's special election for governor in West Virginia, according to the Associated Press. Tomblin, the Democratic state senate president since 1995, defeated Republican businessman and first-time candidate Bill Maloney.
In November 2010, Tomblin succeeded Joe Manchin, the popular Democratic governor who won a special election to the U.S. Senate. The West Virginia state supreme court ruled that Tomblin had to face an election within one year of his succession to finish out Manchin's four-year term, which ends in 2013. Tomblin will have to face the voters again in November 2012, when Barack Obama is at the top of the ticket.
Maloney had made great strides in the polls during the last few months, and a poll yesterday showed the race was in a dead heat. But in the end low turnout for a special election favored Tomblin and the Democrats, who outnumber registered Republicans in West Virginia nearly two to one.