Eleven states held gubernatorial elections Tuesday, and in six of them — North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina and Delaware — newcomers were elected. Here are their brief profiles:

John Hoeven — North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. — To become North Dakota's next governor, John Hoeven had to overcome political inexperience, his party switch — and a former boss.

In his first race for public office, the 43-year-old Hoeven on Tuesday defeated Democratic Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp, one of the three state officeholders who hired him as president of the Bank of North Dakota in 1993.

Democrats had begun courting Hoeven as a potential political candidate soon after he took over at the bank. By 1996, a group of prominent Democrats, including Heitkamp, were urging him to run for governor.

At the time, he declined to run, but he did make a point of declaring himself a Democrat.

"I realize I must join a political party and stick to it," he said in a 1996 letter to newspapers. "I have decided to join the party because I believe that is the best fit for my views."

He reconsidered a few months later, however, and eventually became a local GOP district chairman.

Hoeven stepped into the current governor's race a year ago, when Republican incumbent Ed Schafer announced he would not seek a second term. He defeated state Sen. Gary Nelson to win the GOP endorsement.

Hoeven's campaign themes stressed job creation and mirrored those of Schafer, himself a businessman with no previous political experience when he was elected governor in 1992.

The matchup drew national attention when Heitkamp discovered two months ago that she had breast cancer.

Bob Wise — West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Known as the "clogging congressman" for his tendency to break into dance, Democrat Bob Wise gave up the seat he had held for 18 years to run against the nation's oldest governor.

On Tuesday, he defeated Republican Cecil Underwood, 78, in a close race that focused on dueling prescription drug cost-cutting plans, debates over the future of coal mining and both men's records of public service.

Wise, 52, urged West Virginians to vote for him because of his ability to spot problems and find the right people to help him develop solutions.

"This may sound a little strange, but I often know what I don't know. And by that I mean I know when to go get help," he said.

Wise began clogging on the campaign trail in 1980 during his first political campaign for a state Senate seat. He said he was about to give a boring campaign speech to an already bored crowd, so he did something impulsive instead.

"There was a short break and a band was playing, so I just got up on stage and started dancing," he said.

Although Wise clogged little in recent months, people still ask him to dance at public events.

Wise's political mentor is former North Carolina Sen. Terry Sanford, who was president of Duke University when Wise attended in the late 1960s.

After graduating from Tulane Law School, Wise returned to Charleston and opened a law practice. Most of his work came from contracts with the United Mine Workers, helping miners receive workers' compensation benefits.

Wise began his political career in the state Senate in 1980. After taking his seat in Congress in 1982, he was never seriously challenged.

Judy Martz — Montana

HELENA, Mont. — Republican Judy Martz made business the focus of her victorious campaign to become Montana's first female governor.

The Butte businesswoman set forth a straightforward Republican plan — cut taxes, reduce government, encourage business, develop better jobs. She opposed the minimum wage and vowed to streamline Montana's complex permit process for major new plants and offer tax credits to high-tech businesses.

The former Olympic speed skater is a soft-spoken campaigner, but she didn't hesitate to mix it up if her Democratic opponent, Mark O'Keefe, pressed too hard. She accused O'Keefe of distorting her positions and of trying to buy the election by using $2.2 million of his own money.

Martz, 57, made her first venture into high-profile politics in 1996, when she swept into office as Gov. Marc Racicot's running mate.

As lieutenant governor, she chaired the Drought Advisory Task Force, which tracked Montana's increasingly severe drought and suggested ways to cope with it.

Martz and her husband, Harry, own Martz Disposal Services, a garbage-hauling company.

Martz had a moment in the spotlight years before her political career. At 21, she made the 1964 U.S. Olympic team and competed in the 1,500-meter race at Innsbruck, Austria, but fell halfway through and came in 15th.

Bob Holden — Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gov.-elect Bob Holden may have the most varied geographic pedigree in Missouri politics, from family roots in the Ozarks to political adulthood in St. Louis and Jefferson City.

The Democrat, elected Tuesday, was born in Kansas City and moved before he was 2 to Birch Tree, a hamlet in the Ozarks, where he lived until high school graduation. His parents still have a dairy farm outside Birch Tree, where Holden started his education in a one-room school.

Holden, 51, went off to college in Springfield and represented the Ozarks' largest city in the Legislature.

Then he moved to St. Louis as a top aide to House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, a political mentor.

In 1992, Holden was elected state treasurer, and he won a second term in 1996. He and his wife, Lori, are raising their young sons in a rambling old Jefferson City house overlooking the Missouri River.

"I can appreciate the circumstances and the problems that people have across Missouri. My background gives me a better understanding of our state," Holden said in a recent interview.

Holden will need that statewide perspective, allies say, in crafting a transportation plan for Missouri after a 1992 road building plan was declared too costly to complete. Urban and rural interests are competing for transportation dollars.

Holden also made backing for public schools a centerpiece of his campaign to succeed the late Democrat Mel Carnahan, saying he wanted to continue Carnahan's record of seeking educational excellence.

"You don't help public schools by starving public education," either through private school vouchers or other "schemes," Holden said in a typical stump speech.

Mike Easley — North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov.-elect Mike Easley has always been a bit of an outsider in the Democratic Party. That hasn't kept him from winning elections.

In May, while most of the party establishment and activist groups lined up behind Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker in the race for governor, Easley cruised along with a campaign heavy on television ads and light on personal appearances. He got nearly doubled Wicker's votes to win the nomination.

In the general election against Republican Richard Vinroot, Easley stuck to his time-tested campaign style, working the telephone to raise money, filling the airwaves with ads and doing only minimal grass-roots campaigning.

It was a style he developed in the 1980s while serving as district attorney in the state's southeastern corner.

Easley developed a reputation for prosecuting local Democrats accused of political corruption. He alienated party officials but coped by circumventing the party at election time, using television to showcase his Irish charm and quick wit.

In 1990, Easley lost the Democratic nomination for the Senate to Harvey Gantt. But he won a lot of admirers in the black community because he did not make race an issue, a tactic that had been used in previous campaigns against black candidates.

Easley won the attorney general's office in 1992 and in 1996 drew even more votes than hugely popular Gov. Jim Hunt when they both ran for re-election.

Easley's ads focused on a prescription drug plan for senior citizens he plans to finance from a national tobacco settlement he helped negotiate, and his proposals to reduce class sizes and start a preschool program for all 4-year-olds.

Ruth Ann Minner — Delaware

DOVER, Del. — Twenty-seven years ago, Ruth Ann Minner was answering the phones in the statehouse as receptionist to Gov. Sherman Tribbitt. Now, she has his old job.

Minner, a Democrat, made history eight years ago when she was elected Delaware's first female lieutenant governor. On Tuesday, she became the state's first female chief executive.

Minner, who has spent four terms in the state House and three in the Senate, at one point seemed an unlikely candidate for such accomplishment

Minner dropped out of high school at 16, just like her other brothers and sisters, so she could work on the southern Delaware farm where she was born. She married a year later.

At 32, her first husband died of a heart attack, leaving her to raise their three sons alone.

The day of her husband's funeral, the bank called wanting to meet with her for a financial review.

"After all, I was a widow without visible means of support," Minner said. "I couldn't get a credit card. I couldn't get money. How was I to survive with three children?"

She took over her husband's asphalt-paving business and kept their farm going, studying to get her high school equivalency degree. And in 1974, she ran for office and won.

She remarried in 1969; her second husband died of cancer 22 years later. She still runs his business, a wrecking and towing operation.

Minner said those tough early experiences formed many of her public policy decisions — reform of banking and credit law to expand women's rights, for example.

The governor's office was vacated by Tom Carper, a former congressman and two-term Democrat who challenged Sen. William V. Roth Jr. for his seat.