North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue was named vice-chair of the Democratic Governors' Association today, ascending to the number-two post despite facing the prospect of a tough re-election herself in two years.
Perdue is one of just two Democratic governors representing the South left standing after this year's midterms - the other is Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe -- and noted her background in accepting the position.
"As a southern governor, I am proud to be standing here with these people," Perdue said at a DGA event featuring governors and governors-elect from across the country.
Perdue joins Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who was named chairman, in heading the DGA's leadership team. Both governors will be responsible for Democratic prospects in three states holding gubernatorial elections in 2011: Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Her biggest challenge will be defending Gov. Steve Beshear in Kentucky.
Perdue, however, will also be spending much of the next year preparing for a tough re-election campaign. Her approval ratings are poor, and state Democrats lost control of both houses of the legislature for the first time this century.
Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who lost to Perdue in 2008, holds an early 12-point lead over Perdue, 49 to 37 percent, according to a PPP (D) survey conducted last week. The poll showed her with a weak 33 percent approval rating, with 49 percent of North Carolina voters disapproving.
Perdue said she is only planning to stick around for one year, and won't run again in 2012 when she's on the ballot along with 10 other governor's races across the country.
"I don't intend to be chair in 2012," she said.