(CNN) - After remaining relatively quiet on the matter for more than two months, South Carolina's Speaker of the House is now calling for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign.
The Charleston Republican delivered a letter to Sanford on Tuesday telling him that his actions "have forced unnecessary suffering on the people of South Carolina."
Harrell leads 73 members of the House GOP caucus and now becomes the second-highest ranking elected official in the state to ask Sanford to step down. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer called for the governor to resign last month - a request Sanford quickly rejected.
"The daily trickle of allegations against you has shown that there is no end in sight to the constant distractions caused by you remaining in office," he wrote. Harrell said the governor is destined to be an unnecessary distraction when the state legislature re-convenes in January.
Several Republican members of the legislature favor impeaching the governor, but Harrell said he would avoid talking about possible impeachment charges until the State Ethics Commission concludes its recently-launched investigation into Sanford's travel expenses.
The House Speaker has clashed publicly with Sanford over the years, most recently over the governor's refusal to take $700 million in federal stimulus funds.
Harrell was one of few top officials to keep quiet after revelations of Sanford's affair in June, instead choosing to let the saga play out before making any public statement.
However, Harrell got an earful from members of the House Republican caucus at their annual retreat in Myrtle Beach last month, when a majority of House Republicans said the governor should either resign or be impeached.
A spokesman for Sanford did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Harrell's letter, but the governor will likely address the matter when he appears on a Columbia radio show later Tuesday.
UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Sanford declined Harrell's invitation.
In a statement, the governor said, "I think the Speaker was originally right in his view of a couple of months ago that people should withhold judgment until after the Ethics report. It's unfortunate that he, by this action, seems to have joined the ranks of some others who would attempt to politicize what has gone on."