Barbour Takes Top RGA Spot

In the wake of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's untimely departure from the Republican Governors Association, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is taking over the organization's leadership. Barbour had already accepted the organization's chairmanship for next year, but when Sanford admitted his infidelity with his Argentine mistress, Maria, on national news, it wasn't long before he also resigned from the RGA.

"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. "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's new position comes at a time when he is already receiving negative press over his inability to bring Mississippi's FY 2010 budget negotiations to a close. Reportedly, Barbour has nixed at least four separate agreements on the budget over the past months, each time sending state Senators back to the special legislative negotiating committee to deal more strongly with Democratic House members.

The governor has also gained national attention for his recent travels. This week alone, he has met with Republican strategists in Washington, D.C., headlined one fundraiser in New Hampshire, and will appear at another in Iowa. Because those states lead the national primaries in presidential races, rumors and speculation over Barbour's future political plans abound.

But, coast-to-coast, voters will decide who takes the governors seat in 38 states between now and November 2010. As head of the RGA, Barbour has said his job is to ensure that as many Republican butts as possible fill those chairs.

"[T]he RGA is fortunate that Governor Haley Barbour was in line to become RGA Chairman," said RGA Executive Director Nick Ayers in a statement. "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."


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