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Pawlenty wins race for Minnesota governor

State House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty won a three-way race for Minnesota governor.
State House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty won a three-way race for Minnesota governor.

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- State House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, won a tough three-way race to succeed independent Jesse Ventura as Minnesota's governor.

Three candidates -- Pawlenty, State Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, a Democrat, and Independence Party nominee Tim Penny, a former Democratic congressman -- all had roughly one-third of the vote in early fall, according to polls.

Both Moe and Pawlenty entered November as co-favorites, but Penny was also considered a prime contender -- especially after Ventura's miraculous win for the same post four years ago.

Pawlenty, a businessman and former prosecutor, touted his down-home roots, as the son of a truck driver and stay-at-home mother and the only one of five siblings to attend college.

Moe grew up in rural Minnesota, and was first elected to the state Legislature in 1970. He owns a consulting firm and teaches at Concordia College, in addition to his legislative duties.

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