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Bentley, GOP win big

Republican Robert Bentley was elected Alabama governor Tuesday night, leading a surge of GOP candidates as the party took the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

With three quarters of the state’s precincts reporting, Bentley had won 56.6 percent of the vote compared to Democrat Ron Sparks. Bentley also won Escambia County.

At press time, state Republican officials were claiming to have won a majority of seats in the House and Senate.

“I could not be more pleased with today’s historic results,” state Republican party chairman Mike Hubbard said in a statement. “There are many people who played an integral role in helping us to achieve this goal, including Gov. Bob Riley, our hardworking staff who implemented our Campaign 2010 strategy, our donors who believed we would be successful and the candidates who made the decision to be a part of this historic election cycle.”

In one of the state’s most stunning upsets, seven-time Sen. Lowell Barron was defeated by a political newcomer. R

Republicans may have benefited from anti-Democratic sentiment nationwide as well as from a political scandal that saw four state lawmakers along with gambling leaders and lobbyists arrested in the weeks before the election.

Also winning were Luther Strange for attorney general and John McMillan for agriculture commissioner. The lieutenant governor’s race was too close to call at presstime, but Republican Kay Ivey was leading Democrat Jim Folsom.