Martinez out as RNC chairman

He'll spend more time with his ... constituents.

Published October 19, 2007 5:49PM (EDT)

With his party suffering in the polls, losing incumbents, trailing in fundraising and failing to find a presidential nominee everyone can love, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez announced today that he's stepping down as chairman of the Republican National Committee after just 10 months on the job.

He's not leaving to spend more time with his family. No, sir. Martinez says he's leaving because the RNC has "accomplished" the goals he set for his run at the helm -- establishing "the structure" and raising "the resources" needed to "support our presidential candidate and ensure Republican victories next November" -- and to spend more time focusing on his ... constituents.

George W. Bush, who picked Martinez to lead the RNC, said in a statement that Martinez has "effectively communicated our party's commitment to addressing the issues most important to all Americans." Maybe that's precisely the problem: In a Gallup poll taken last month, 59 percent of Americans said they had an "unfavorable" view of the GOP. Only 43 percent said they felt that way about the Democrats.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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