Earl Ray Tomblin

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Earl Ray Tomblin
Earl Ray Tomblin 2.jpg
35th Governor of West Virginia
Assumed office
November 15, 2010
Lieutenant Jeffrey Kessler
Bill Cole
Preceded by Joe Manchin
48th President of the West Virginia Senate
In office
January 3, 1995 – November 13, 2011
Preceded by Keith Burdette
Succeeded by Jeff Kessler
Member of the West Virginia Senate
from the 7th district
In office
December 1, 1980 – November 13, 2011
Preceded by Ned Grubb
Succeeded by Art Kirkendoll
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the 16th district
In office
December 1, 1974 – December 1, 1980
Personal details
Born (1952-03-15) March 15, 1952 (age 63)
Logan County, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joanne Jaeger
Children 1
Alma mater West Virginia University
Marshall University
Religion Presbyterianism
Website Government website

Earl Ray Tomblin (born March 15, 1952) is an American Democratic Party politician and the 35th and current Governor of West Virginia. Prior to becoming Governor, Tomblin served as President of the West Virginia Senate for almost 17 years. Tomblin became Acting Governor in November 2010 following Joe Manchin's election to the U.S. Senate. He won a special election in October 2011 to fill the unexpired term ending in January 2013 and was elected to a first full term as Governor in November 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Tomblin was born in Logan County, West Virginia, and is the son of Freda M. (née Jarrell) and Earl Tomblin. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia University where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and then went along to receive a Master of Business Administration degree from Marshall University.[1]

State Legislature and Senate President[edit]

Tomblin was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1974, and reelected in 1976 and 1978. He won election to the Senate in 1980 and was subsequently re-elected every four years until his election as governor.

Tomblin was elected on January 3, 1995, as the 48th President of the West Virginia Senate. Having served in the position for almost seventeen years, he is the longest serving Senate President in West Virginia's history. Tomblin became the first Lieutenant Governor of West Virginia upon creation of the honorary designation in 2000.

As a senator, he represented the 7th Senate District encompassing Boone, Lincoln, Logan, and Wayne counties.[2]

Governor of West Virginia[edit]

Tomblin began exercising the duties of Governor when Joe Manchin resigned after being elected the state's U.S. Senator, filling the seat vacated by the late Senator Robert Byrd. Tomblin is the first person to act as governor under West Virginia's current constitution.

While acting as governor, Tomblin retained the title of Senate President as required by the West Virginia Constitution.[3] Tomblin did not participate in legislative business or accept his legislative salary while acting as governor.[4] Tomblin also did not preside over the Senate while acting as governor.

2011 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In 2011, Tomblin stated his desire to run for the office of Governor. Following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeals on January 18, 2011, the next gubernatorial election was scheduled for October 4, 2011.[5] Tomblin was successful in the Democratic Primary, beating a field of six contenders, while Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney emerged as the Republican nominee in the May 14 primary. He went on to win the general election against Maloney and took the oath of office as governor on November 13, 2011.[6] Immediately before taking the oath as governor, Tomblin officially resigned from both the offices of Senate President and state senator.[7]

2012 election[edit]

The 2012 West Virginia gubernatorial election was held on November 6, 2012. Tomblin defeated the Republican candidate Bill Maloney.



Tomblin has said that he is pro-life.[8][9]

Despite this, in March 2014, Tomblin vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions in West Virginia after 20 weeks, which he said was due to constitutionality issues.[8] In March 2015, Tomblin again vetoed the bill, however his veto was overridden by the West Virginia legislature.[9][10]

Approval ratings[edit]

A May 2013 survey by Republican strategist Mark Blankenship showed Tombin's job approval rating to be at 69 percent, unchanged from two months earlier.[11] According to a poll conduced by Public Policy Polling in September 2013, Tomblin had an approval rating of 47 percent with 35 percent disapproving, up from 44 percent in 2011.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Tomblin was married on September 8, 1979 to Joanne Jaeger, a native New Yorker and graduate of Marshall University, who served as the president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College from 1999 to 2015.[13][14] They reside in Chapmanville and have one son, Brent. Tomblin attends the First Presbyterian Church of Logan.


  1. ^ "Earl Ray Tomblin". The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Charleston, West Virginia: West Virginia Humanities Council. November 3, 2010. Retrieved February 8, 2011. 
  2. ^ "West Virginia Senate District Map". West Virginia Senate. Retrieved November 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ "West Virginia Constitution". West Virginia Legislature. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Interim governor Earl Ray Tomblin introduces himself". Charleston Daily Mail. November 8, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Tomblin succeeds Manchin as West Virginia governor". Washington Post. November 15, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2010. "Acting W.Va. Governor Proclaims Oct. 4 Election". Charleston Gazette. January 21, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ "News from The Associated Press". Hosted.ap.org. 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  7. ^ "Earl Ray Tomblin Sworn in as W.Va. Governor - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports". Wowktv.com. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  8. ^ a b Associated Press (March 29, 2014) - "WV Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill, Sparking Outrage From National Pro-Life Group". Fox News. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  9. ^ a b La Ganga, Maria (March 3, 2015) - "West Virginia Governor Vetoes Bill Banning Abortion At 20 Weeks". Los-Angeles Times. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  10. ^ Eyre, Eric & Nuzum, Lydia (March 6, 2015) - "20-Week Abortion Ban to Become W.Va. Law; Senate Overrides Tomblin Veto". The Charleston Gazette. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  11. ^ Kercheval, Hoppy (May 9, 2013) - "Poll Numbers Show Manchin, Capito, Tomblin, Tennant Strength". WV MetroNews. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  12. ^ Jensen, Tom (September 25, 2013) - "West Virginia Miscellany". Public Policy Polling. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  13. ^ "About the First Lady". Firstlady.wv.gov. 2010-11-15. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  14. ^ "President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin Announces Retirement | News from Southern". Southernwv.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Keith Burdette
President of the West Virginia Senate
Succeeded by
Jeff Kessler
Preceded by
Joe Manchin
Governor of West Virginia
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Manchin
Democratic nominee for Governor of West Virginia
2011, 2012
Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within West Virginia
Succeeded by
Mayor of city in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Paul Ryan
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sam Brownback
as Governor of Kansas
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside West Virginia
Succeeded by
Brian Sandoval
as Governor of Nevada