[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/24/art.palin.10.9.jpg caption="A top Palin aide stepped down Wednesday."]Washington (CNN) - Sarah Palin's spokeswoman Meg Stapleton, a close adviser to the former Alaska governor who developed a rocky relationship with other Republicans and members of the media, has resigned, two sources close to Palin confirmed Wednesday to CNN.
Stapleton, a spokesperson for the former governor since 2006, cited the need to spend more time with her husband and young daughter. In a statement first reported by Politico, Stapleton explained that serving Palin "has been an honor" but said it is time to "refocus my priorities."
But ever since Palin was suddenly elevated to the national stage in August 2008, Palin insiders, members of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and other Republicans sympathetic to the former governor have grumbled privately about Stapleton's ability to handle the increasingly monumental task of advising Palin, a global political celebrity whose every word is dissected and analyzed by pundits, celebrity magazines and the blogosphere.
Members of the political press corps have also long been frustrated with Stapleton, who was the primary conduit between Palin and members of the media since the end of the 2008 presidential race, but rarely responded to phone calls or e-mails. When Stapleton did, they were often terse or combative.
She and Palin had previously spoken about resigning, but Stapleton informed SarahPAC staffers of her decision by e-mail last week.
"Earlier this week, I handed Governor Palin my resignation, effective the end of this month," the e-mail said. "While I had hoped to work together on so many more projects, time with my precious 2-year-old has been further minimized with the whirlwind commitments of all things Palin. I have done my best to scale back, but Isabella is now resorting to hiding my BlackBerry, and she shouldn't grow up begging for a mother to start acting like a mother."
There are no immediate plans to hire a replacement for Stapleton, a source close to the Palin family told CNN. The source noted that the family, which takes pride in their Alaskan identity, are comfortable speaking in their own voice.
UPDATE: Fred Malek, an influential GOP fundraiser and adviser to Palin, e-mailed to compliment Stapleton on her service.
"Any professional has to be judged by success, and by any measure, Team Palin has been an enormous success," Malek told CNN. "As Governor Palin's principle aide during this awesome rise, she has been a one woman band and deserves much credit and admiration."