Romney carries W.Va., Dems win in state

Nov. 7, 2012 at 3:32 AM
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CHARLESTON, W.Va., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- West Virginia went to Republican Mitt Romney by 25 percentage points while re-electing a Democratic governor and U.S. senator.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin defeated Republican challenger Bill Maloney, a retired businessman, in a replay of a special election just over a year ago, the Charleston Daily Mail reported. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, won a special election in 2010 to complete the late Robert Byrd's term, won a full term.

Manchin, speaking before the national presidential race had been called for President Barack Obama, called on whoever won the White House to reach across the aisle. During the campaign, Manchin avoided the president.

"Whoever the president will be at the end of this night ... my recommendation would be this: that that president would start what I call a presidential healing tour," Manchin said before the national election was called for Obama.

Obama lost by almost twice his margin in 2008. West Virginia, although the Democrats are competitive within the state, has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996.

"A West Virginia Democrat and a national Democrat are two different things," said Neil Berch, a political expert at West Virginia University.

In the state Legislature, the Republicans picked up 11 seats in the House, moving closer to a majority. In the new term, they will hold 36 seats to 54 for the Democrats.

In the state Senate, Republicans picked up at least two seats.

Tomblin, who was then president of the state Senate, became acting governor in 2010, replacing Manchin. He defeated Maloney in a close race last year.

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