RNC Chairman Stepping Down

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The head of the Republican National Committee has abruptly announced that he's stepping down.

Mel Martinez is quitting as general chairman after 10 months in the job. He hadn't been expected to step down until a Republican presidential nominee was selected.

The Florida senator says he wants to spend more time focusing on his constituents. And, he says, the RNC has accomplished the goals he set when he took over -- including raising money to "ensure Republican victories next November."

Martinez was named to the national party post by President Bush in November 2006 and took over in January of this year.

RNC chairman Mike Duncan, who handles day-to-day operations of the party, says Martinez helped lay the groundwork for the next presidential nominee.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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