Tomblin, a Chapmanville native, received 40 percent of the Democratic vote — 51,012 votes — to beat his five opponents. House Speaker Rick Thompson got 30,453 votes for 24 percent, while Secretary of State Natalie Tennant received 21,892 votes for 17 percent, State Treasurer John Perdue received 15,850 votes for 13 percent, Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler got five percent of the vote with 6,417 votes and Arne Moltis received 477 votes for zero percent.
Tomblin celebrated with family and friends in the North Hall of the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum Saturday night. Hundreds showed up to hear Tomblin's acceptance speech he gave after getting the news that he had won the Democratic Party nomination.
"I'm very excited about it," Tomblin said Saturday night at his headquarters in Charleston. "We've run a very positive campaign. It's been a grueling campaign, traveling from one end of the state to the other. I'm so honored that the people of West Virginia chose me as their Democrat nominee for governor. I think that shows the people appreciate the job I'm doing and they like the direction that we have the state going in now and that's what I plan to continue to do."
Now, he's setting his sights on the general election in October.
"We'll be out campaigning for the next four months and, hopefully, I'll get through the general election and continue to move West Virginia forward," Tomblin said.
Tomblin will face off in October against Bill Maloney, a dark horse candidate who received 45 percent of the Republican Party vote by getting 27,403 votes, beating out heavily-favored Betty Ireland, who received 31 percent with 18,636 votes. Clark Barnes received 5,844 votes for 10 percent, Mark Sorsaia received 2,949 votes for five percent, Larry Faircloth received 2,376 votes for four percent, Mitch Carmichael got 2,051 votes for three percent, Ralph William Clark received 1,141 votes for two percent and Cliff Ellis got 277 votes for zero percent.
"I hope we both run a very positive campaign, deal with the issues that people are interested in and concentrate on moving West Virginia forward," Tomblin said.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said last week in Gilbert that he plans to campaign for Tomblin.
Manchin congratulated Tomblin in a statement released over the weekend by his office.
"“I want to offer my sincere congratulations to Earl Ray Tomblin and all the candidates who participated in this important election,” Senator Manchin said. “Looking ahead, we must now unite and work together to achieve our shared goals and commonsense vision for our great state. After such low turnout in this election, though, I strongly urge all West Virginians to take ownership of our state by participating in the general election.”
Tomblin also received congratulations from Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, chair of the Democratic Governors Association. O'Malley also pledged his support to Tomblin.
"I want to congratulate Governor Earl Ray Tomblin on his victory in tonight's primary and commend Speaker Thompson, Secretary of State Tennant, Treasurer Perdue, and Senator Kessler for their spirited campaigns," O'Malley said in a press release. "In Governor Tomblin, West Virginians have a proven champion of fiscal responsibility, increased educational opportunity, and most importantly, job creation. He is the clear choice to lead West Virginia forward. The DGA is committed to keeping the West Virginia governor's mansion in Democratic hands and Governor Tomblin's strong candidacy will enable us to do so. We look forward to working with him to build a strong coalition for jobs and opportunity in West Virginia."
Tomblin said Tennant came to his celebration to offer her congratulations and her support, and Perdue called to say he will throw his support behind Tomblin for the general election.
"I think we'll be getting lots of endorsements and support, plus what we've already had during the primary season," Tomblin said. "Natalie and John have already endorsed me for the general election. We need to bring the Democratic Party together to get a victory in October."
Tomblin, the longest-serving senate president, has been serving as governor per the State Constitution since Manchin resigned to take his seat in the U.S. Senate in November 2010.