CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As Yogi Berra might say, the race for governor was déjà vu all over again -- including the outcome.
A rematch of the special election held just 13 months prior, the race featured the same key players -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin versus Republican challenger Bill Maloney -- and nearly identical campaign themes and issues.
Again, Maloney put up a tough challenge, with Tomblin pulling out a five-point margin of victory, 51 percent to 46 percent, after winning the 2011 special election by 2 1/2 points.
In his victory speech, Tomblin thanked his supporters for helping him win his fourth campaign in 18 months -- which he joked allowed him to visit cities and towns across the state, "again and again and again."
"Thanks to the help from all of you, I have the great fortune and honor to be your governor for four more years," Tomblin said at about 10:45 p.m., drawing cheers from the crowd.
He also asked for a moment of silence for victims of the June derecho and superstorm Sandy.
"I've heard so many stories about people helping people," he said of the storm recovery efforts. "That dedication to helping other people is one of the reasons why I love my home state and its people so much."
In the next four years, Tomblin said he would continue to work with business and labor, Democrats and Republicans to move the state forward.
"I truly believe our state is poised for greatness, and I'm proud to have played a part in getting it to this point," he said.
During the campaign, Tomblin again touted his steady leadership that over the past two decades, from his service as Senate finance chairman and as the longest-serving Senate president, as well as a total of two years in the governor's office, for putting state government on sound financial footing.
In that tenure, Tomblin stressed that the state had paid off debts, both short and long term, and had banked $880 million into Rainy Day funds while cutting taxes and making the state more attractive for business investment.
Maloney, a Morgantown businessman who made his wealth with a company that drills shafts for coal mines and natural gas wells, again argued that the state is losing jobs, lags in education and health care, and is not business-friendly.