RNC member calls on Steele to resign

April 09, 2010|By Paul West | paul.west@baltsun.com

The head of the North Carolina Republican Party has become the first member of the Republican National Committee to call on Michael S. Steele to resign as RNC chairman in the wake of a party spending flap.

Tom Fetzer, in a two-page letter to Steele on Thursday, said "the best service" he could render would be to "graciously step aside and allow the party to move on from this current quagmire."

The demand drew fresh attention to an episode, now nearing the end of its second week in circulation, that began with the disclosure that the RNC spent nearly $2,000 for "meals" at a West Hollywood topless club.

Steele, who was not present at the club, has instituted a shake-up at party headquarters in an attempt to put the matter behind him.

The move by Fetzer, who joined the RNC last June, is not part of an organized effort to force Steele out, other RNC members said. The former Maryland lieutenant governor's hold on his party job has slipped in recent weeks, but he is still expected to serve the remainder of his two-year term, they said.

An RNC spokesman, Katie Wright, said in a prepared statement that "Steele has maintained broad support from RNC committee members, who have been pleased with the proactive measures put in place for greater accountability. Most importantly the RNC remains focused on raising money and winning elections in North Carolina and across the country this fall."

Fetzer is not the first RNC member to call for Steele's resignation. In March 2009, a North Carolina committeewoman, Ada Fisher, said he should step aside because of "eroding confidence" in his leadership. Her demand, after a series of early gaffes by Steele, failed to draw support.

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