Sat, Nov 11, 2006 - Page 7 News List

Republican party chief to step down

AP , WASHINGTON

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman, whose party lost both chambers of Congress in this week's elections, will step down from his post when his two-year term ends in January, Republican officials said.

The officials spoke on Thursday on the condition of anonymity because Mehlman had not yet made his intentions public.

Brian Jones, an RNC spokesman, declined to comment beyond saying that an announcement would be made in the days ahead.

Democrats won control of the House and Senate on Tuesday by capitalizing on voter frustration with President George W. Bush, the war in Iraq and the scandal-scarred Congress.

The officials said Mehlman made the decision not to run for a second term more than a month or two ago -- well before the election.

Mehlman had traveled extensively to promote the Republican agenda. When he became chairman, he said he hoped to tighten the Republicans' grip on power.

"Nothing is permanent in politics," he said then. "The goal is how do you -- both in the short term and the long term -- do things to make it sustainable?"

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