Napolitano wins; Salmon <BR>isn't conceding race – yet
Salmon wasn't conceding, saying he wanted to see more ballots counted.
"There are still a lot of votes out there to be counted, but the trend is moving in our direction," Salmon said. "This will go right down to the wire."
Salmon spokeswoman Camilla Strongin later said Salmon was sticking by his statement that he wasn't conceding.
Napolitano said she hadn't received a call from Salmon on Wednesday evening. "Matt needs to have time to collect his thoughts, meet with his advisers, decide when he needs to concede," she said.
The gubernatorial race also featured independent Richard Mahoney, a former Democrat who served as secretary of state in the early 1990s, and Libertarian Barry Hess. They trailed far behind the major parties' nominees.
The race between Salmon and Napolitano had been tight throughout the campaign. Polls indicated Napolitano was taking the lead a couple of weeks ago, but more recent surveys showed Salmon had narrowed the gap in the days before the election.
During the campaign, Salmon tried to paint Napolitano as a liberal big-spender who would raise taxes, while Napolitano said Salmon would continue Republican leadership that had neglected education and health care during the past decade.
Republicans have held the governor's office since 1991 and controlled both chambers of the Legislature during most of that period.
Much of the race centered on the candidates' differing approaches to a projected budget deficit that could reach $500 million this year and $1 billion next year.
Salmon promised spending cuts and other moves to balance the budget without tax increases. He also said he would reduce the size of state government while focusing on priorities such as improving education.
Napolitano said the state would need to cut spending and eliminate some corporate tax exemptions to balance the budget while protecting funding for education.
Republicans selected Wednesday to top leadership posts in the next Legislature said Napolitano's election would not pose a problem despite the differences in parties.
"I've always been able to work with Janet. I think she's
reasonable," said House Speaker-designee Jake Flake of Snowflake.
Napolitano said Tuesday night she hadn't given much thought to the prospect of becoming the first woman to became Arizona's governor through election.
"I guess it's just part of the trend," she said.
Arizona has had two other woman governors, Hull and Democrat Rose Mofford, but each became governor through succession after elected incumbents left office midterm. Hull went on to win a term of her own.
Mofford was the state's last Democratic governor, serving from 1988 to 1991.
On the Net:
Napolitano campaign: http://www.gojanet.org/
Salmon campaign: http://www.salmonforgovernor.com/