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O'Malley new DGA chair

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will be the new chair of the Democratic Governors' Association, with North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue as vice chair, DGA members announced today at a press conference.

O'Malley, who served two terms as the DGA's vice chair, will succeed Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

O'Malley withstood a tough midterm challenge from former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, defeating his opponent by double digits. Markell said O'Malley's own electoral success will benefit the DGA's future political efforts.

"He's really somebody who knows how to win," Markell said, adding that in his new role O'Malley would help "revitalize our party."

O'Malley framed the future success of the DGA in economic terms, stressing that job creation, innovation and education improvement should be the top goals of Democratic governors.

"We are in a fight, and it is a fight for our economic future and it is a fight in which every state has a role and important part to play."

He denied that the DGA would take a parallel political stance to that of the RGA, whose incoming chairman, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has been vocal in his opposition to President Obama. "That's not the agenda of the Democratic Governors Association," O'Malley said.

Technically, the new leadership team was announced before the DGA took a formal vote later this afternoon, but Gov. Markell announced the team early as a "sneak peek" for the press.

O'Malley's first election season as DGA chair will feature three governors' races: Louisiana, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Also during the press conference, DGA executive director Nathan Daschle addressed the ongoing gubernatorial recount in Minnesota, where Democrat Mark Dayton (a former U.S. Senator) is leading Republican Tom Emmer.

"We're confident, as is Sen. Dayton, that he will be victorious," Daschle said. "He has a 9,000 vote lead that's going to be very difficult for Tom Emmer to make up. We've contributed to the effort, we're going to continue to contribute to the effort financially, legally, in every other possible way to make sure that he is sworn in as the next governor of Minnesota as he deserves to be."