After nearly a year as West Virginia's acting governor, Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin has been sworn in as the Mountain State's 35th chief executive.

The 59-year-old Tomblin was sworn in Sunday. He won an Oct. 4 special election to fill the unexpired term of Democrat Joe Manchin, who won a U.S. Senate seat in 2010 following the death of longtime Sen. Robert C. Byrd.

Tomblin took the oath of office in private after the Legislature met to declare him the victor and after he had resigned as state Senate president. He then took the oath again in front of about 1,000 people on the state Capitol's south steps.

The governor pledged to tightly manage state finances and to champion the state's coal industry, a statement that prompted heckling from environmental protesters.

Tomblin narrowly defeated Republican Bill Maloney, a Morgantown businessman. Tomblin won't have long to enjoy his victory. He will have to run again in 2012 for a full, four-year term.

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