The Democratic State Central Committee voted unanimously Saturday to elect the younger brother of Gov. Martin O'Malley to chair the Maryland Democratic Party.
The governor had nominated Peter O'Malley, who managed his 1999 mayoral campaign and was one of the top aides on his gubernatorial campaign last year, to lead the state party. Peter O'Malley replaces Susan Turnbull, who led the party for the past two years.
"I am so thankful for this tremendous and humbling opportunity to once again work with Democrats in all corners of Maryland," Peter O'Malley said in a statement after the vote. "In Maryland we've set the standard on how to win, and together we will lead the charge to protect the progress we have made."
Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney dismissed the selection as nepotism. In a statement, Mooney said the governor has "created more jobs for his family than he has for Maryland over the entirety of his time in office."
"It's clear Governor O'Malley is more focused on putting members of his family to work rather than the over 200,000 unemployed Marylanders struggling to find a job," Mooney said.
Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for Martin O'Malley, said the governor is "very proud of his brother, and pleased he's the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party."
Part of Peter O'Malley's role in the recent gubernatorial election was to reach out to other Democratic candidates. As party chairman, he will be expected to help engineer the re-elections of Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and President Barack Obama in 2012.
Also elected Saturday were Yvette Lewis of Prince George's County as first vice chair, Oscar Ramirez of Montgomery County as second vice chair, Robert Kresslein as treasurer and Beth Swoap as secretary.
Before joining his brother's gubernatorial campaign last April, Peter O'Malley worked for three years as chief of staff to Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr.
In the Smith administration, his job included advising the county executive on political issues, setting his schedule and serving as the administration's contact with other elected leaders in the area.
Politics is a family affair for the four O'Malley brothers, who have all worked on the campaigns of the governor and some of his political allies.