Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will assume the chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association next year as the party enjoys its first gubernatorial majority in 12 years, officials said Monday.

Sebelius, who was elected to a second term last month, will succeed New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging an official announcement on Wednesday.

Richardson is ending his term while weighing a bid for the presidency in 2008.

Sebelius, 58, prevailed in her Republican-leaning state with 58 percent of the vote on Nov. 7. Her vice chairman will be West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III, who was elected in 2004.

Democrats captured governorships in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, Arkansas, Colorado and Maryland on Election Day and next year will control 28 states to the Republicans' 22. The results reversed the GOP's six-seat advantage.

By another calculation critical to the party in 2008, Democratic governors will control states with 295 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win the presidency.