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Janet Napolitano, Class of '79, declared winner in election for governor of Arizona

PHOENIX, AZ. -- Nov. 10, 2002 -- Santa Clara University alumna Janet Ann Napolitano will be the 21st governor of Arizona, it was announced tonight. 

After many months on the campaign trail and five long days of counting ballots, Republican Matt Salmon ended a political roller coaster by calling Napolitano on Sunday night to congratulate her.  

"In this election, voters sent a message for fundamental change in the way Arizona is governed. I promise you this, I will not let you down," she said. Napolitano, a Democrat, will be inaugurated Jan. 6. 

Napolitano, the Arizona attorney general,  faces a Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives.

Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in 1979, and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. Her political career has been a steady climb since she moved to Arizona in 1983. After 10 years in private practice, former President Clinton appointed her U.S. attorney for Arizona in 1993. Five years later, she won a close race for Arizona attorney general over Republican Tom McGovern.

"We have big challenges ahead of us that the voters want us to work on," Napolitano, 44, said. "We have to go at this full tilt."

She led Salmon by more than 11,000 votes statewide at 9 p.m. Sunday as election workers counted the last batch of ballots. Unofficial results show Napolitano with 560,653 votes, or 46.2 percent. Salmon has 549,230 or 45.2 percent.

Two visits by President Bush and various stops by some Cabinet members weren't enough to help Salmon defeat the popular new governor.

<p><a href=Janet Napolitano'79 speaks to students at 152nd commencement.

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