Gov. Barbour named Vice Chariman of GOP governor group

MIAMI, FL (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was elected the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association on Friday. Sanford succeeds Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will now serve as finance chairman.

The association has been meeting this week in Miami - and some discussions have revolved around what went wrong for the party on Election Day.

"I am honored and excited to become chairman of the Republican Governors Association as we work together to win a majority of governors by 2010," Sanford said in a statement released by the group. "Republican governors are natural leaders who will find solutions to our nation's challenges and bring back the party."

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was selected vice chairman; Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will head up recruitment efforts; and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will be in charge of the group's annual gala.

Sanford is a 48-year-old former congressman. His second term as governor ends in 2011 and term limits prevent him from running again. While Republicans lost the White House and some strength in Congress earlier this month, South Carolina continued its solidly red state track record on Election Day.

Voters in the state picked John McCain for president, returned Lindsey Graham to the U.S. Senate and kept the GOP in control of the Legislature. Katon Dawson, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, is campaigning to become the new head of the Republican National Committee.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)