Republican Mike Pence will be Indiana's next governor after a victory that helps extend his party's control of the Statehouse.
Pence defeated Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham Tuesday after a campaign in which he started as the better-known candidate and had a strong fundraising advantage.
"We hope you see this victory as much of a vote of confidence in your leadership as an affirmation of our vision and our plans for the future," Pence told his cheering supporters.
"Because of the progress we've made the past eight years, Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity, to go from good to great. To take our rightful place as the leading state in the Midwest and one of the fastest growing economies in the United States of America and tonight, Hoosiers reached for that future," he added.
"I'm grateful. I'm grateful for your confidence in me and my family. And tonight we celebrate. And tomorrow the real work begins. Tomorrow we will take concrete steps to keep making Indiana great. The best place in the land. To live, to work, to go to school, to raise a family, to start a business, to get a job," Pence said.
"As your governor, I pledge to work everyday until Indiana is known everywhere as a state that works. And does more than our share to lead this nation by our example. And to the practices and principles that made America strong before and will make America strong again. And Indiana can lead the way."
Pence has been in Congress for the past 12 years, gaining national prominence as a social conservative. But he focused his campaign on economic issues and brushed off attacks that he'll push contentious social issues.
He will succeed Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is barred by state law from seeking a third term.
Republicans entered Tuesday's election holding strong majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly and all the elected state government offices.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)