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O'Malley to lead Democratic governors

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue spilled the news: as expected, Martin O'Malley will was picked today to be the next chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.

(While the organization already has announced O'Malley's election in a press release, and Perdue described him in her speech as the chairman, the actual vote is happening right now.)

** UPDATE: O'Malley has now, officially, been selected chair via a unanimous vote, says spokesman Rick Abbruzzese. **

O'Malley is currently emceeing an association lunch at the St. Regis Washington hotel. He spoke briefly, giving a somewhat nationalized version of his stump speech.

As DGA chairman, O'Malley now has the opportunity to expand his Rolodex with Democratic donors from other states, deepen relationships with a network of emerging Democratic leaders and recruit new faces to the party.

The position proved a stepping-stone for former President Bill Clinton, current Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius and current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, among others.

"It is an important leadership position," Nathan Gonzales, the political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, said Tuesday, before the vote. "If it is O'Malley, it will put him on a larger stage than just being the governor of Maryland."

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi showed the way during the 2010 election campaign, when he made the Republican Governors Association a major fundraising resource for GOP candidates — and kept his own name in the national media.

But the job does not necessarily translate into national stardom.

"You don't get this huge national profile unless you seek it out and work it," said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the Cook Political Report.

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