WEST DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is returning for a fifth term after a 12-year break.
Gov. Chet Culver called Branstad just before 11:00 Tuesday night to wish him luck in his new role leading Iowa. Branstad says he's honored to serve Iowa again.
"When I was growing up near Leland, Iowa, I learned an old saying I've always lived by. The harder you work, the luckier you get. Tonight I feel like the luckiest guy on the face of the earth," Branstad said.
Voters elected the Republican on Tuesday over first-term Democrat Chet Culver, whose loss made him the first incumbent Iowa governor to lose election since 1962.
Supporters at the Democratic headquarters began the night optimistic, and through the first half hour, it seemed Culver might just have pulled off the win of the night. But as more votes were counted, the gap began to widen.
After Culver called Branstad, he addressed a crowd of dozens at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. He thanked his team and the people of Iowa for giving him the chance to serve.
"I'm a proud 5th generation Iowan. They made their decision, and that's okay," Culver told reporters on Tuesday.
Culver may no longer lead the state, but more than 40 percent of voters did want him back in office. He said, he is proud of his record, and believes he's put Iowa on the right track for the future.
"We have made these investments today that will bring us bright days tomorrow," he told his supporters in Des Moines.
Branstad also looked toward the future on Tuesday night.
"Well Iowans, we got a little done today, but we'll give it heck for the next four years," Branstad said.
Branstad said he decided to run for another term because he believes he can do more for job creation, education and fiscal responsibility.
"You may not always agree with everything I do, but I will always do my best. I will always work for your best interests at heart," Branstad said.
The 63-year-old Branstad was first elected governor in 1982 and served 16 years. After opting not to run again, he was named president of Des Moines University.
Before Culver was in state government, he taught government and history at a Des Moines high school. For now, he'll concentrate on spending time with his family, but says he's not ruling out returning to the classroom.