Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer today endorsed Lavora Barnes as the next Michigan Democratic Party chair.

In an exclusive interview with the Advance this morning, Whitmer said that she believes that Barnes, who currently serves as the MDP’s chief operating officer, is the best person for the job.

Lavora Barnes

“Lavora was a critical partner in this last cycle,” said Whitmer, a Democratic former state Senate minority leader. “She is so smart and works so hard and I think is an inspirational leader. … There is no one better prepared to take it on than she.”

Current Chair Brandon Dillon, who has served since 2015, announced last week he will not run for re-election next year. Dillon told the Advance in an interview last week before Barnes declared that she “would be an incredible state party chair.”

Dillion’s decision to step aside came after big 2018 victories for Dems. They flipped two congressional seats; elected a Democratic governor, attorney general and secretary of state; re-elected a U.S. senator; and made gains in the GOP-controlled Legislature, among other statewide and local wins.