Democrat wins West Virginia governor's race

By LAWRENCE MESSINA | October 4, 2011 | 9:15 PM EDT

Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin campaigns Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 in Charleston, W. Va. Tomblin faces Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney in today's election. (AP Photo/Charleston Daily Mail, Bob Wojcieszak)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin has won a special election for governor in West Virginia, overcoming Republican attempts to tie him to President Barack Obama and the health care plan.

Tomblin has served as acting governor since Joe Manchin stepped down in November after he won a U.S. Senate seat. Tomblin defeated Republican drilling executive Bill Maloney and will serve the remaining year of Manchin's term.

Republicans were upset Tomblin didn't join a majority of other states who sued the Obama administration over the health care plan. Obama lost West Virginia in 2008 and is wildly unpopular here, even though Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2-1.

Tomblin is West Virginia's longest-serving Senate president.