[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/08/art.steelernc.gi.jpg caption="North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer called on Michael Steele to resign."]Washington (CNN) – North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer called on Michael Steele Thursday to resign as chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Fetzer made the request in an early afternoon letter sent to Steele.
Fetzer told CNN in a telephone interview that he felt that “the party needed new leadership to move forward.”
“This is a conclusion that I reached only recently and somewhat reluctantly,” Fetzer said. “I have been supportive of him during my entire tenure as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. In the last few days, I have reached the conclusion that if we are going to be the party of reform we have to start with our own party.”
Fetzer was referring to allegations that Steele is misusing donor funds as Republicans prepare for the midterm elections.
Earlier this week, New Hampshire RNC member Sean Mahoney resigned his post in protest of Steele and GOP operative Alex Castellanos said that Steele should step down.
In addition, prominent RNC fundraiser Sam Fox also parted ways with the national committee.
But Steele has his supporters including the GOP chairmen representing California, Delaware and Illinois as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, among others.
Update 5:55 p.m.: RNC Deputy Communications Director Katie Wright responded Thursday evening to Fetzer's request for Steele to step down:
"Chairman 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," Wright said.