New Republican National Committee leader

June 16, 2003 at 5:13 PM

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- Republican National Committee chairman Marc Racicot announced Monday he plans to step down next month.

Racicot plans to resign at the at the RNC's annual summer meeting in New York. President Bush has asked Ed Gillespie to replace Racicot. Gillespie will serve as senior advisor to the RNC until committee members consider the president's recommendation in July.

Racicot said, "It has been my great honor to serve my party and my president as chairman of the Republican National Committee."

Gillespie, who managed the 2000 Republican National Convention program in Philadelphia, served as a senior communications adviser to the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign in Austin and during the Florida recount. In 2002, Gillespie was general strategist for Elizabeth Dole's Senate campaign in North Carolina.

Gillespie formerly served the RNC as director of communications and congressional affairs under the leadership of Haley Barbour.

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