CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Democratic Secretary of State Joe Manchin (search) and Republican Monty Warner (search), a retired Army colonel turned developer, will square off in the November election to replace Gov. Bob Wise (search).
With 97 percent of the vote counted early Wednesday, Manchin had secured the Democratic nomination with 137,658 votes, or 52 percent, to 72,018 votes, or 27 percent, for former state Sen. Lloyd Jackson
The two candidates had engaged in a bruising exchange of negative advertising in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's primary.
In a ten-way race of candidates vying for the GOP nod, Warner had 24,708 votes, or 23 percent, to edge out Dan Moore, a former banker and car dealer, who had 21,887, or 20 percent. Former state tax secretary Rob Capehart was third with 18,997 votes, or 17 percent.
The race was thrown wide open after an extramarital affair put an end to Wise's career last year. Seventeen candidates in all competed for the nomination — 10 Republicans and seven Democrats.
West Virginia is one of 11 states with gubernatorial races this year. Nationwide, Republicans have a 28-22 state majority.
The governor's mansion has traded party hands four times in the past 20 years in West Virginia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1 among registered voters.
The Democrats were counting on a second Wise term until the 56-year-old former congressman and father of two admitted to infidelity nearly a year ago and announced he would not seek re-election. The announcement likely ended Wise's 24-year political career.
Among also-rans in the Democratic race was Philip "Icky" Frye, the now ex-husband of the state economic development official with whom Wise reportedly had his affair.