RALEIGH. N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has been formally chosen to lead the Democratic Governors Association next year.

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Association members elected Cooper to the job on Saturday at the group’s meeting in New Orleans. He’s been vice-chair and chair-elect in 2021. Now he’ll spearhead efforts to help party nominees win more in a big gubernatorial year ahead.

Thirty-six governorships are on the ballot in 2022.

Republican governors currently lead 27 of the 50 states. Cooper is succeeding Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

The association also elected New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy as vice-chair and chair-elect for 2022.