Tomblin wins West Virginia, loses eastern counties
West Virginia voters said last week that acting-Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will keep his room at the governor's mansion-at least for the next 14 months.
Tomblin defeated Republican challenger Bill Maloney by about 8,000 votes (unofficial totals) in an election for which only about a quarter of registered voters showed interest. Pocahontas County's voter turnout was slightly higher, at 28.79 percent.
The acting governor lost Pocahontas County and, according to State Senator Walt Helmick, contiguous counties to the north and east from here to Berkeley.
Helmick said Tomblin lost to Maloney in Pocahontas, Pendleton, Grant, Hardy, Mineral, Hampshire, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
"The message is that there's a whole lot of folks in West Virginia that want change," Helmick said. "They don't like the economic situation and they look at current office holders [as responsible]."
The senator said voters distrust their government, that sentiment fueled in part by negative advertising by candidates and parties in advance of election day.
Maloney won Pocahontas County with 649 votes to Tomblin's 568. Mountain Party candidate and former Richwood mayor Bob Henry Baber was a distant third with 104 votes. Marla Dee Ingels and Harry V. Bertram trailed with 28 and eight votes, respectively.
The governor's seat will be up for grabs again in the 2012 election.
For a precinct-by-precinct breakdown, visit our website at www.pocahontastimes.com.