His parents, the targets of negative ads for their greyhound and video gaming ventures, stood smiling behind him as he delivered his victory speech.
Tomblin was the first in his family to go to college, graduating from West Virginia University in 1974 at the age of 22.
But even before graduating that year, Tomblin had already thrown his hat into the ring for his hometown's House of Delegates seat.
"It was a Tuesday in May 1974 that I won the primary election for House of Delegates," he told the Daily Mail in December. "That Saturday I graduated from WVU - that was a big week in my life."
That fall he also worked as a substitute teacher in Logan County and successfully won his campaign to the House seat.
In addition to teaching, Tomblin has owned a series of rental properties and had a brief foray into the restaurant business over the years.
He also did accounting work for Southern Amusements, his parents' gaming business - which helped fuel some of the negative ads against him during the gubernatorial campaign.
In 1980, he won the election for the Logan County state Senate seat, which he has held onto ever since.
After serving several years as Senate finance chairman, he was elected Senate president in 1995 and has held that title ever since.
Tomblin has touted his role in shaping sound fiscal policy in the state over the past few decades, which helped lead to a $322 million budget surplus last year and has triggered reductions in the state's corporate income and business franchise taxes.
Also during his time acting as governor, he successfully led an effort to eliminate the state's sales tax on food, which will come off completely in 2013.
"I truly believe our state is poised for greatness," Tomblin said Tuesday night, "and I'm proud to have played a part in getting our state to this point."
He will now serve out the remaining 15 months of Manchin's gubernatorial term. He pledged to continue to help build the state's economy.
"I will go anywhere, and do anything to bring jobs to West Virginia," he said.
And while opponents had tried to tie him to the policies of President Obama, who polls show remains deeply unpopular in the state, Tomblin vowed to continue fighting against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and federal policies that would be harmful to the state's coal mining industry and economy.
And in a nod to his support from labor and teachers unions, he also pledged to take efforts to improve workplace safety for all jobs and help ensure that teachers are rewarded for dedication to their jobs.
While Tomblin is now governor-elect, he will still technically be the state Senate President acting as governor for several weeks.
Each county will have to conduct an individual canvass of the election results prior to an official certification of the election by Tennant. That could take place as late as Oct. 26.
Then Tomblin will need to call the Legislature into special session to resign from the Senate, allowing him to take the oath of office as governor.
That is tentatively slated to take place the first week of November. After that, a delegation from Logan County will select nominees to fill the vacant Senate seat.
Tomblin will need to call the Senate into another special session to allow that body to elect a new president.
Sen. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, has been acting as Senate president while Tomblin has been fulfilling the duties of the governor's office. He could face a challenge to that post.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.