October 19th, 2007
03:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Martinez out as RNC chief

Sen. Mel Martinez announced Friday he is resigning from chairman of the RNC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Sen. Mel Martinez stepped down Friday as general chairman of the Republican National Committee, after serving just nine months on the job.

Martinez, who is the GOP’s most prominent Latino lawmaker, said he accomplished his goal of helping put the RNC in the best position for the 2008 elections.

“It was my goal as General Chairman to lead the Party as it established the structure and raised the resources necessary to support our Presidential candidate and ensure Republican victories next November,” the Florida senator said in a prepared statement released by the RNC. “I believe we have accomplished those goals. That’s why it is the appropriate time for me to step down as General Chairman and continue to focus my energy on serving my constituents in Florida.”

While two GOP sources tell CNN that Martinez does believe he accomplished what he set out to do at the RNC, the sources noted that he also thinks serving in this national post has contributed to a decline in his political standing back home. Martinez is convinced he needs to focus more on his personal politics, the sources said. The senator is not on the ballot in 2008, but he 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. Bush praised Martinez Friday in a statement from the White House shortly after the RNC announced the senator was stepping down.

“As General Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mel has effectively communicated our party's commitment to addressing the issues most important to all Americans,” Martinez said. “His message of hope and opportunity has resonated throughout America and strengthened support for our agenda. Because of his leadership, more Americans understand the Republican Party’s efforts to grow our economy, support our troops, strengthen our schools, and protect our country.”

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, and Bush expressed confidence in his ability to lead the national party.

“Mike Duncan has demonstrated that he is an effective Chairman who will help our party win in the next election,” Bush said in the statement. “I have confidence in Mike’s leadership and look forward to continuing to work with him.”

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King

Filed under: RNC
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Jay, L.a. Ca

    Good riddance, amnesty Mel was a liability and certainly not an asset to the republican base. Now he can go home and get back to destroying Florida.

    October 19, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Joaquin Martinez, Chandler, AZ

    Lotta censorship of some good comments on this page. Hey, CNN Blogmaster- what are you afraid of ?

    October 19, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. VanReuter NY NY

    Who wants to captain the Titanic?


    October 19, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Mr. Jaime Lerwis Denver Coloradi

    the Republican ship is sinking fast

    October 19, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. dan

    "Martinez, who is the GOP’s most prominent Latino lawmaker, said he accomplished his goal of helping put the RNC in the best position for the 2008 elections."

    Perhaps this article has a misprint. Shouldn't it say "worst" position instead of "best"???

    October 19, 2007 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. pl. at the UN for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote.

    My job requires me to stay informed. My assistant does a great job in assisting.
    The Repubs know they got it coming next November. No one wants to lose–So they just keep on quitting well ahead of time.

    October 19, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Ethan, Brooklyn, NY

    Heckuva job Mellie.

    October 19, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Steve, Dayton, Ohio

    Mel is smarter than you think. He sees the drubbing the Republicans are about to receive in 2008 and has jumped off the wagon in plenty of time. Give the man some credit.

    October 19, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Greg , Meadville, PA

    The GOP Chairman QUITS and one after another GOP Senator and Congressman are dropping out of the election,...Yet, to hear the people at Faux Noise and their immitators at CNN talk it's the DEMS who are in trouble?

    October 19, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Josh Maloney, Oakland, CA

    Seems a bit premature to be dropping out. Its just another Republican to bow out. The biggest bow will be on 1/20/09 when the worst President in our Nation's history steps down.

    October 19, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. rich clancey boston ma

    They say that when a ship begins to sink, the rats dive overboard.

    October 19, 2007 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. Connie, Tn.

    The rats are slowing deserting the sinking ship.

    October 19, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Allen, Redlands, CA

    Way to "cut-and-run"!!

    October 19, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Well, Mr. President, if he's not with you, he's against you, right?!

    This is the single-most disgraceful administration of all time – and after Nixon, I didn't think that was possible!

    Of course, it could be worse – he could had his knob polished in the West Wing!

    October 19, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Hooligan, Everywhere, America

    And to add insult to injury, he Stock Market is really taning today!

    What? In the middle of the Robust Bush Economy?!

    October 19, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    Another Republican rat leaving the sinking ship.....

    October 19, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Sure, its clear that no Repubs want to have any further links to the psychotic from Texas.

    So what's up with the Republican Presidential contenders and they're "go down with the ship" mentality re: Iraq War?????

    October 19, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. J. Taylor, CA

    Why isn't CNN covering the over $2 million dollars that Senator Harry Reid's smear letter fetched on Rush Limbaugh's ebay auction today, along with the fact that Limbaugh's gonna match the $2 million and challenged Reid to do the same and no word from Senator Reid on why he's not gonna match?

    October 19, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. JW Fort Lauderdale FL

    He needs to go back to Cuba with the rest of the facists. He does not represent the people of south florida, like all republicans he represents only his own self interest and pocket book, he is a disgrace to this state

    October 19, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. J. Taylor, CA

    What? Dow hits all time high just last week during a bad economy?

    Hint. The market corrects, like today. So what? Look where it's at compared to just several months ago. The economy is doing just fine. My portfolio is doing nothing by growing.

    October 19, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Jeff, Minneapolis

    What's with the Disney-shaped logo on the podium? I know he's in Florida but...

    October 19, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. elmerg, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    “As General Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Mel has effectively communicated our party's commitment to addressing the issues most important to all Americans,”

    Yes; guys kissing, a baptismal in every living room, tax breaks for the rich, endless war and occupation, tranfer of nation's wealth to the Military Industrial Complex, the debunking of science to please the superstitious wingnut base, zero health care for children, immigrant bashing and a pledge of allegiance to all things Bush.

    Way to go, Mel.

    October 19, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust
    Hey, Im gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust

    October 19, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Tom, AlBUQUERQUE, NM


    October 19, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Luis, Miami Florida

    Oh god I can wait for 2010 so we can get rid of him all together. He is just a yes man for Bush. WORTHLESS!!!!

    October 19, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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