[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/03/art.schweitzer.gi.jpg caption="Schweitzer will chair the DGA."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic Governor's Association announced Wednesday that Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer will take over as the group's chairman, replacing West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin.
Schweitzer, a bolo tie-wearing moderate who handily won a second term as governor in November, was elected at the DGA's annual winter meeting, with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley winning the post of vice-chair.
Both men have taken active roles in the DGA, and each said they look forward to working with President-elect Obama as a partner.
The Montana governor is perhaps best known nationally for delivering an electrifying speech to the Democratic National Convention in August, stealing the show on a night when former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was supposed to be the headliner, but delivered a relatively lackluster keynote address.
Gov. Manchin praised Schweitzer for helping the party win in traditionally conservative regions of the country.
“The DGA has never been in a stronger position, and Brian Schweitzer is a dynamic leader who will take the organization to the next level,” Manchin said. “Brian has made in-roads in traditionally conservative-leaning areas because he’s honest, practical, and knows how to get results.”
The Republican Governor's Association named South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford as their chairman last month at the RGA's annual meeting in Miami.