In a special election Tuesday, acting West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat and president of the Senate, edged out Republican businessman Bill Maloney. They were the two top vote getters in the race.

In unofficial results, the secretary of state’s office reported that Tomblin had 49.37% of the votes while Maloney had 47.17%.

Three other minor candidates, plus write-ins, made up the remaining 3.46% of the votes.

The 304,145 votes cast statewide represented a turnout of 25.03%. The election was to determine who would finish the term of former Gov. Joe Manchin. He resigned during his second term to take the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Robert Byrd, who died in June 2010. Manchin then won a full, six-year Senate term in a special election in November.

Tomblin, 59, has been acting governor since Manchin left office 11 months ago. Tomblin said Tuesday night that his campaign fought bitter attack ads that attempted to link him to President Obama.

“This campaign has not been easy, but we have persevered,” said Tomblin, who will now serve the remaining 15 months of Manchin’s term. “We’ve fought back against those who have brought in extreme ideas and wish to create the turmoil like that in Washington, D.C.”

Maloney said during his campaign that he would explore selling or leasing the West Virginia Turnpike, and that he had discussions with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels about that state’s toll-road lease.

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