Sen. Martinez with President Bush.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Sen. Mel Martinez plans to step down as general chairman of the Republican National Committee, after serving just nine months on the job, CNN has learned.
Two GOP sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, tell CNN an announcement is planned for later Friday.
The sources say Martinez feels he has accomplished his goal of helping the RNC improve its financial standing after the 2006 midterm drubbing. But they also acknowledged that he believes serving in the national post has contributed to a decline in his political standing back home in Florida, and the senator is convinced he needs to focus more on his personal politics. The senator, who is the GOP’s most prominent Latino spokesman, is not on the ballot in 2008, but is up for re-election in 2010.
Martinez officially became general chairman in January, when his selection by President Bush was endorsed by the national committee. Bush extended that offer last November, just after Republicans lost control of the House and Senate. Martinez initially declined when then-White House political adviser Karl Rove called to ask him to take the post. But he accepted when the president followed up with a personal appeal.
At the same time Martinez became the general chairman, longtime national party operative Mike Duncan of Kentucky was chosen to be the RNC chairman. Duncan runs the day-to-day affairs of the committee, while Martinez served more in a fundraising and spokesman's role.
Duncan will stay on as chairman.
- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King