Washington (CNN) - The incoming chairman of the Democratic Governors Association says he's preparing for the upcoming election cycle.
Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland Wednesday was formally elected to take over as head of the DGA, as he met with other Democratic governors and governors-elect.
"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us," O'Malley said at a luncheon in the nation's capitol to introduce the DGA's new leadership team.
Following an extremely tough election cycle for Democrats, O'Malley added that "Democratic governors will lead the way back to our party's resurgence."
In last month's midterms O'Malley, won re-election to a second term by a double digit margin over former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich, in a rematch from the 2006 contest when then Baltimore Mayor O'Malley defeated then Gov. Ehrlich. O'Malley, who's served as DGA vice-chairman the past two years, is succeeding Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, the outgoing chairman.
Gov. Bev Perdue, who in 2008 became North Carolina's first ever female governor, was formally elected to succeed O'Malley in the vice-chair position.
The Democrats controlled 26 governorships heading into the midterm elections. The Republicans won back control of 11 states from Democratic control in the midterms, including such heavyweights as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. The Democrats won back control of California, Vermont, Hawaii and are ahead in the battle for Minnesota's governorship, where a recount is underway.
The Democrat's candidate in Minnesota, former Sen. Mark Dayton, attended Wednesday's meeting, as says he's "confident" and "optimistic" about coming out on top. Dayton currently leads state lawmaker Tom Emmer by nearly 9,000 votes.
DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle says his organization is helping Dayton: "We've contributed to the effort. We are going to continue to the effort financially and legally."
Three states, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi, hold gubernatorial elections in 2011. In Kentucky, Democratic incumbent Steve Beshear is expected to face a challenging re-election, while Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is not expected to face a difficult re-election bid.
"I definitely think it will be a competitive race. We are not going to take it for granted," Daschle told CNN, discussing next year's contest in Kentucky.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is term-limited. Barbour, the outgoing Republican Governors Association Chairman, is credited with raising over $100 million for the RGA, about twice the record amount the DGA brought in this past cycle. Barbour is being succeeded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Daschle says that "fundraising is only relevant if it helps you win races" and said that the RGA underperformed in the midterms even though it doubled the DGA's fundraising total.
So will the DGA catch up to the RGA in the next cycle?
"I don't think we'll ever match the RGA but we'll continue to grow as an organization," said Daschle.
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