Gov. Sean Parnell won in his own right the job he inherited last year when Sarah Palin abruptly resigned.
Parnell, a steady Republican conservative who promised voters his administration is on track to secure a long-sought natural gas pipeline, won 59 percent of the vote to Democrat challenger Ethan Berkowitz's 38 percent, with 70 percent of the precincts counted.
Berkowitz, 48, threw a fierce challenge at Parnell but couldn't win over enough voters with his pitch that the state was stagnating and needed his fresh ideas.
Parnell was part of the winning Palin-Parnell ticket four years ago as the lieutenant governor candidate. This time he won as the headliner. He doesn't exhibit the rock star allure of his predecessor and isn't burdened by the perpetual drama that marred her last year. Instead Parnell tried to appeal to voters as the steady conservative choice.
"I think over the last 15 months, I've earned the trust of Alaskans," Parnell said Tuesday night walking into the Egan Convention Center, which was election central. "They know that I'm focused on jobs and families. I'm going to continue to do that."
He said he ran a positive campaign focused on issues, not personalities. While there are yet votes to be counted, including absentee ballots, his lead appears insurmountable, Parnell said.
Berkowitz, at his campaign party at Snow City Café, all but conceded.
He said he ran a good race and now Parnell "has the burden of leadership."
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