[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/23/art.barbour.gi.jpg caption="Barbour will head the RGA."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governors Association, CNN has learned.
Barbour immediately takes over as head of the national Republican campaign organization following South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford’s announcement he was leaving the post. Sanford acknowledged Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina.
“The news revealed today hurts all of us who have gotten to know Governor Sanford over the years and so it is with regret that the RGA accepted Governor Sanford’s resignation as chairman,” Barbour said in a statement obtained by CNN that will be distributed Wednesday afternoon. “While this news is deeply disappointing, I also know it’s important to remain focused on the future and Governor Sanford’s resignation allows him and us to do just that.
Barbour added: “The RGA has an important task over the next two years. I am committed to seeing it through and confident we will succeed.”
Nick Ayers, the RGA’s executive director, expressed disappointment about Sanford’s revelation.
“While I am personally disappointed in today’s revelation, I also know that it’s important for both Governor Sanford and the RGA to move forward as quickly as possible,” Ayers said in the forthcoming statement. “Therefore we accepted his resignation this afternoon.
“However, the RGA is fortunate that Governor Haley Barbour was in line to become RGA Chairman, a position he assumed today. As a former RNC chairman and one of the best governors in the country, no one is better positioned to takeover as RGA chairman than Governor Barbour.”