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Vilsack wins Iowa governor's race


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DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) -- Gov. Tom Vilsack, who broke the GOP's 30-year lock on the governor's office in 1998, won a tough re-election bid Tuesday against attorney Doug Gross, CNN projected.

Vilsack only recently landed on the list of vulnerable Democratic governors, a shift caused by state economic woes and devastating losses for the state's agriculture industry.

He's made seven rounds of budget cuts since he took office in 1999, watching his approval rating drop below 50 percent in recent polls. Recent polls showed that more than half of voters said the state is headed in the wrong direction.

The main beneficiary of Vilsack's misfortunes was Gross, chief of staff to former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. Gross won a crowded GOP primary, and polls showed he closed the race into a dead heat, mostly by focusing on the state's looming budget deficit and appealing to the state's generally conservative electorate.

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