CHARLESTON – Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin defeated his Republican challenger to win his first full, four-year term as voters went to the polls Tuesday.
[cleeng_content id="771112052" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]It was the second time in just over a year that Tomblin and Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney, 54, had faced off for the governor’s office. In a special election on Oct. 4, 2011, Tomblin won 50 percent of the vote compared to 47 for Maloney – a margin of 7,100 votes.
This time around with 39 counties reporting their results to the secretary of state’s office, the 60-year-old Tomblin won more than 50 percent of the vote versus the Republican’s almost 46 percent. Tomblin received 203,382 votes to Maloney’s 185,495 votes.
A Morgantown native educated at Lehigh University, Maloney in 1984 co-founded North American Drillers. In 2010, he lent his expertise to help free 33 men in the Chilean mine disaster rescue. He has never held public office.
Tomblin spent recent months working to distance himself from President Barack Obama – even skipping September’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where Obama’s re-election campaign formally kicked off.
The Logan native served for 17 years as president of the State Senate before becoming acting governor in 2010 – the first time the state ever has had an acting governor. His 2011 win situated him to finish out the rest of Joe Manchin’s term in the governor’s office.
Manchin, a fellow Democrat who also publicly distanced himself from Obama, resigned after winning a special election to complete the final two years of Robert C. Byrd’s term in the U.S. Senate. Byrd died in office in mid-2010.