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Lynch leading Benson in N.H. governor race

Benson could be only GOP incumbent to fall

Democrat John Lynch campaigns in the New Hampshire governor race.
Gov: NH Updated: 5:32 p.m. ET
Lynch 51%
Benson 49%
100% precincts reporting
Election Results Main Page

(CNN) -- Democrat John Lynch was narrowly ahead in his bid to beat incumbent Republican Craig Benson in the race for New Hampshire governor on Wednesday.

With more than 95 percent of precincts reporting, Lynch led Benson by roughly 13,000 votes. If Lynch's lead holds, Benson would be the only Republican governor to lose in the 2004 election.

Both men are weathly former corporate executives. Lynch, 51, helped turned around Knoll Inc., a furniture maker that flirted with bankruptcy while Benson co-founded the former Cabletron Systems.

According to state campaign finance reports, both men spent plenty of their own money on the race.

Benson spent $3 million of his own money on his campaign with his total fundraising reaching $3.8 million. Lynch spent more than $2 million of his own mone with total fundraising of $2.9 million.

Benson set a record when he first won office two years ago, spending $12 million on his winning bid. But Benson's blunt management style has earned him some enemies in state government.

The two men clashed over taxes, a key issue in famously anti-tax New Hampshire, in their four debates. Lynch proposes repealing the state's education property tax while Benson proposed capping property taxes for the elderly poor.

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