LOUISVILLE, Ky (Reuters) - Kentucky's Democratic Governor Steve Beshear won re-election to a second term on Tuesday, beating back challenges from two rivals.

With nearly 90 percent of the state's 3,571 precincts reporting, the incumbent had garnered 56.1 percent of the vote, according to the state board of elections website.

His chief rival, Republican David Williams, who had 34.6 percent of the vote, conceded the race.

"Unfortunately, as a candidate I was not as popular as I hoped I would be," Williams, the president of the Kentucky Senate, said. He said he planned to meet with Beshear to "try to find some common ground to work on."

A third candidate in the race, Gatewood Galbraith, an attorney from Lexington, had 9.3 percent. Galbraith is a perennial candidate in Kentucky, having run five times.

Beshear was the overwhelming favorite in the race after Williams faltered during the campaign.

In Tuesday's other gubernatorial race in Mississippi, a Republican is expected to win, maintaining the status quo in the two states and offering few clues of trends for 2012, analysts said.

Mississippi Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant is widely seen as the likely victor there after he was endorsed by popular outgoing Governor Haley Barbour, who earlier this year decided against running for president.

Polls have closed in Mississippi but no significant results were yet available.

(Reporting by Robert Adams; Editing by James B. Kelleher)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Politics News

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