DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The likely departure of the nation's longest-serving governor to accept an appointment as U.S. ambassador to China means Iowa could be led by its first female governor.

An aide to President-elect Donald Trump confirmed on Wednesday that Trump has offered to nominate Republican Gov. Terry Branstad for the ambassadorship, and that the governor is expected to accept.

If Branstad accepts and is confirmed by the Senate, Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds would become Iowa's governor. She would hold the position until Branstad's term ends in January 2019, and she could run for governor in 2018.

The 57-year-old Reynolds was a first-term state senator when Branstad chose her to run for election as his lieutenant governor.

Reynolds has focused on economic development and education during her six years as lieutenant governor.