Kansan To Lead The DGA

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) will become chairwoman of the Democratic Governors Association next year, officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Associated Press.

The Democrats are coming off a successful campaign season, picking up six statehouses in last month's elections.

Sebelius and the DGA declined to comment ahead of a meeting tomorrow of the governors association, when the announcement of Sebelius's appointment is expected. She would replace New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is considering a run for president in 2008.

Next year, the Democrats will hold a majority of the country's governorships for the first time in 12 years. This year's victories came in several states that had Republican governors despite strongly Democratic leanings, such as Massachusetts and New York.

But the elections also underscored the importance of the party reaching out to more conservative states. Sebelius, who defeated her opponent with 58 percent of the vote Nov. 7, is considered a leading model for how Democrats can win in traditionally Republican territory.

The Democrats also picked up governor's seats in Ohio, Arkansas, Colorado and Maryland, and they will control 28 states in January. The Democrats' success in governor's races was mirrored in state legislatures, where they picked up nine chambers.

Sebelius's vice chairman at the DGA will be West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, according to the AP.

Last week, the Republican Governors Association tapped Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the organization. He follows outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is expected to announce plans to run for president in coming weeks.

Sebelius was elected in 2002 and has been credited with cutting government waste. At the DGA, she has worked on ethanol and education issues.

Sen. Clinton Hires Strategists

In anticipation of her widely expected 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has hired several well-known senior strategists.

Phil Singer, who worked in Sen. John F. Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and was the spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, will join the Clinton press and message operation, according to the Associated Press.

"I'm going to do everything I can to help her if she decides to run. Hopefully, she'll make a decision soon," Singer told the AP.

The news agency also reported that Clinton has hired a prominent Democratic fundraiser, Jonathan Mantz, and is on track to tap Karen Hicks, a former Howard Dean adviser, as national field organizer.

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