Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin has won a special election for governor in West Virginia, overcoming Republican attempts to tie him to President Barack Obama and the health care plan.
Tomblin has served as acting governor since Joe Manchin stepped down in November after he won a U.S. Senate seat. Tomblin defeated Republican drilling executive Bill Maloney and will serve the remaining year of Manchin's term.
Republicans were upset Tomblin didn't join a majority of other states who sued the Obama administration over the health care plan. Obama lost West Virginia in 2008 and is wildly unpopular here, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.
Tomblin is West Virginia's longest-serving Senate president.
Tomblin got 49 percent of the vote, compared to 47 percent for Maloney. Fewer than 7,000 votes separated the two candidates.
Maloney got more votes than Tomblin in Pendleton, Grant, and Hardy counties.
The race also had three other candidates who got a small percentage of the vote. The Mountain party's Bob Baber got 2 percent, Independent Marla Ingels got 1 percent, and Third Party Position candidate Harry Bertram got 0.4 percent of the vote.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)