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Colorado's John Hickenlooper Set To Take Leadership Role

The top three posts at the Democratic Governors Association are set. The group is meeting in Los Angeles for their annual conference to make Vermont's Shumlin chairman, as O'Malley steps a rung down to focus on 2016.

Posted on December 4, 2012, at 2:45 p.m. ET

Jim Young / Reuters

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a voice of the Democratic center who could be a presidential contender in 2016, will take a post in the party's hierarchy, as vice chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, a source at the group's conference in Los Angeles told BuzzFeed.

As the DGA votes Tuesday evening on new leadership, the top three committee positions — chair, vice chair, and finance chair — are expected to be unchallenged and almost certainly locked in place, the source said.

Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont is expected be the DGA's next chair; Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, its next vice chair; and Gov. Martin O'Malley — who served in the top leadership position for the last two years — will continue on the committee as finance chair.

"No decisions yet on the other chairs," said the source, referring to the more minor DGA committee positions — labor chair, CEO roundtable chair, and NGA chair. But Maggie Hassan, the newly elected governor of New Hampshire — and the only female Democratic governor — is expected to take on some roll.

The shuffle in leadership gestures toward the rising stock of Shumlin and of Hickenlooper — the moderate western Democrat — as O'Malley steps back to lay the groundwork for a possible run for the presidency in 2016.

DGA spokesperson Kate Hansen would not confirm the chair positions, but did say that "the expectation has been that O'Malley would step down," she said. "He's been chair for two years and he's just been an excellent leader, a strong fundraiser, and a prominent surrogate for the president."

The governors will vote on the top three positions in a meeting at 3 p.m. PST, and the results will be announced by the DGA shortly thereafter. Hansen said the other three slots could be decided at Tuesday's meeting or at a later date.