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Dec 16, 2012 9:40 PM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chavez allies sweep Venezuela gubernatorial vote

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Allies of President Hugo Chavez won a sweeping victory in the country's gubernatorial elections Sunday, capturing at least 19 of 23 states, the country's electoral chief said.

Opposition leader Henrique Capriles held on for a re-election win in Miranda state, one of three opposition candidates who had won according to the preliminary results.

Going into the vote, the opposition had held the governorships in eight states, and it lost in five of those states according to the results announced by National Electoral Council President Tibisay Lucena.

Jorge Rodriguez, campaign manager for the pro-Chavez camp, hailed the victory saying it represented "the map painted red" - the color of Chavez's socialist party.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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