As unofficial results came in precinct by precinct and county by county, Tomblin never lost the lead in the state’s special election for governor Tuesday.
With 8 percent of the state’s votes counted Tomblin held an over 2,000-vote lead and that lead increased to 3,000 votes with 9 percent counted.
The three third-party candidates, Bob Henry Baber (Mountain Party), Marla Ingels (Independent) and Harry Bertram (A) never factored in the race.
Tomblin, from Chapmanville, has been the West Virginia Senate President for the past several years and became acting-governor after former governor Joe Manchin was elected in November of last year to take the U.S. Senate seat of Robert C. Byrd following his death. He is West Virginia's longest-serving Senate president.
Tomblin’s lead increased to more than 5,000 votes with 17 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
Maloney cut the lead to 4,500 votes with 18 percent of the precincts reporting, but
Tomblin dominated Maloney in Boone County, as well as all of southern West Virginia, which was expected. Maloney, from Morgantown, had better results in the northern part of the state.
The polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and closed at 7:30 p.m., but those standing in line were still able to vote, according to West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.
With 500 of the state’s precincts reporting, or 27 percent overall, Tomblin’s lead had jumped back up to over 7,800 votes. With 28 percent reporting Tomblin’s lead increased to over 9,000 in unofficial results.
With 32 percent reporting, Maloney cut the lead to around 8,500. With 40 percent, or 753 precincts, reporting, Tomblin’s lead dropped to just over 7,400.
Just past the halfway point with 52 percent, or 976 precincts, reporting, Tomblin’s lead was over 8,800.
As the race continued into the night and more precincts reported, Tomblin’s lead continued to increase. With 1,105 of the state’s precincts reporting, or 59 percent, the Democrat from Logan County was up by more than 10,300 votes over his Republican challenger. Tomblin had 51 percent of the vote, Maloney 46 percent, Baber 2 percent, Ingels 1 percent and Bertram had less than 1 percent.
Tomblin, 59, and Maloney, 53, who has never held elected office and has sought to make the fight a referendum on President Barack Obama and a rejection of Tomblin as a career politician.
Tomblin's campaign fought efforts to tie the acting-governor to the White House.
Outside groups poured lots of money into the race, even though the winner must run again in the general election in November 2012. The Republican Governors Association has spent $3.4 million and the Democratic Governors Association $2.4 million.
Obama lost West Virginia in 2008, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.
At 8:40 p.m. Tuesday night, the Associated Press declared Tomblin the winner in the special election. With 82 percent of the votes counted unofficially, Tomblin had a more than 7,400 vote lead over Maloney.
With all 37 0f 37 precincts reporting in Boone County in unofficial results, Tomblin garnered 3,377 votes to Maloney’s 1,075. Baber received 50 votes in Boone County, while Ingels got 33 votes and Bertram 10.
Log on to www.wvmetronews.com for the final results of the special election for governor.