The Democratic Party of Virginia elected Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, as state party chairwomanat its quarterly meeting in Williamsburg Saturday.
Herring, who is the party's first black chair, succeeds Brian Moran who announced last month he was leaving the post.
"I am humbled by the strength and diversity of Virginia Democrats," Herring said. "I look forward to fighting every day to ensure we continue to elect Democrats here in this great Commonwealth."
This is the second time Herring has followed Moran into a political job. Herring took over Moran's seat in the House of Delegates when Moran gave up the post in 2009 to run for governor.
"I couldn't be more pleased to hand over the reins of State Party chair to Del. Herring," Moran said. "Delegate Herring is a strong advocate for Democrats across the Commonwealth and will work tirelessly to continue the progress we made in 2012 and bring us to victory in 2013."
Last session Herring was a vocal opponent in the House of Republican efforts to restrict abortion rights, including the state's new law requiring women to receive mandatory ultrasounds before an abortion.
Herring also has the strong support of the Democrats' presumptive nominee for governor in 2013, Terry McAuliffe.
"Charniele Herring will make an excellent chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia because she has the vision, experience and priorities that represent the future of our party in the Commonwealth," McAuliffe said. "Charniele's compelling life story and dedication to public service enable her to be the strong leader and effective communicator our party needs. Her historic election is representative of the strength and diversity of our party and our Commonwealth."
The 43-year-old Herring was born in the Dominican Republic when her father was stationed there in the U.S. military. She has also often told the story of living in homeless shelter at age 16 after her mother lost a job.