Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley gives the State of the State speech in 2001. (By Gail Burton/Associated Press)

Usually, that is done by winning elections. But reports out of Rhode Island indicate that O’Malley (D) is trying another approach in that state: wooing Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, to join the Democratic fold.

DGA spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith confirmed that O’Malley brought up the idea with Chafee during a recent phone conversation.

“I’m happy where I am for now,” Chafee, a former Republican U.S. senator who won the governorship in 2010 as an independent, replied through a spokeswoman to, a Web site affiliated with an East Providence-based television station. said O’Malley’s overture was first reported by RIPR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Rhode Island.

O’Malley is nearing the end of his first year as chairman of the DGA, during which Democrats and Republicans split four gubernatorial races. He is widely expected to get the nod from his colleagues next week at a meeting in Los Angeles to stay at the helm for a second year, when 11 states have governor’s races on the ballot.