WASHINGTON — Republican National Committee chairman Jim Gilmore resigned Friday, clearing the way for President Bush to install a new party head in advance of midterm 2002 elections, with control of Congress and three dozen statehouses at stake.
Former Montana governor and close Bush ally Marc Racicot is the likely candidate to replace Gilmore, senior Republicans said Friday. Racicot was once in line to be Bush’s attorney general but took himself out of the running.
Moving quickly, the White House asked Republican leaders throughout the country for advice on a successor by Monday. Along with Racicot, who came to Bush’s aid during the Florida recount last year, the names of several other prospects were circulated, including Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., and Ann Wagner of Missouri, co-chairwoman of the committee.
Gilmore resigned, effective in January, saying he wasn’t willing to commit to the extensive travel and time away from family required to prepare for the 2002 elections. He leaves after less than a year in office, a period marked by resounding GOP losses in governors’ races in New Jersey and Gilmore’s home state of Virginia, where he is the current governor, as well as internal party tensions.
Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.