CHARLESTON - Another close race, another win for state Attorney General Darrell McGraw.
The soon-to-be fifth-term Democrat defeated Republican challenger Dan Greear, who waited until after 1 a.m. to concede. After 670,709 votes were counted, McGraw edged Greear by 4,173.
It was similar to McGraw's 2004 race with Hiram Lewis, which was the closest attorney general race in West Virginia's history. McGraw defeated Lewis by 5,307 votes.
"We expected a close race. Not this close though, to be honest," said Greear, who beat Lewis in May's primary.
"I can honestly say we did everything we knew to do. I just wish the numbers were a little different. The numbers are tough."
Greear, 40, had even held a late lead, pulling ahead with about 88 percent of precincts reporting.
"It wasn't an easy night," Greear said. "It was an uphill battle. He's entrenched. But now, it's time to move on."
McGraw, 71, is also a former justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court. He was first elected attorney general in 1992.
On Wednesday, Greear said he wouldn't change anything about his campaign.
"You can always second guess things," he said. "But there's no point in doing that. Any mistakes we might have made were not for lack of effort. We have nothing to be ashamed of."
Now that the election is over, Greear said public office isn't on his mind right now.
"I'm going to enjoy fading back into anonymity for a while," he said. "I look forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings and spending more time with my family."
The race between the two was anything but friendly.
In a press release issued late Monday night, Greear listed six incidents in the closing days of the heated campaign that he calls "clear evidence of campaign activity within the taxpayer funded Office of Attorney General in the weeks leading up to election day."
On Tuesday afternoon, Chief Deputy Attorney General Fran Hughes was critical of Greear and his campaign tactics.
"His slander is astounding," she said. "I'm sure he's desperate, and that's all he has to offer.
"He throws out these bombs. He makes up allegations. That's been a pattern of his throughout this election. He casually engages in defamation."
Greear said he made a brief congratulatory phone call to Hughes and McGraw early Wednesday morning.
"We all wished each other well," Greear said. "I congratulated him on his victory."
Calls to McGraw's office seeking comment after the election were not returned, and efforts by The West Virginia Record to get comment and reaction Tuesday night were thwarted when a reporter was escorted out of McGraw's campaign headquarters.