WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Ken Mehlman, campaign manager for Bush-Cheney '04, will be named head of the Republican National Committee, a source close to the White House told UPI Thursday.
A former White House political director, Mehlman has strong ties to senior presidential counselor Karl Rove, the man President Bush has called "the architect" of his Nov. 2 victory, and is given high marks in GOP circles for his abilities as a political strategist and as a communicator.
Mehlman must be approved for the post by a vote of the Republican National Committee, something that is considered a mere formality once the president officially taps him for the post. He replaces Ed Gillespie, a highly-regard communicator in his own right whom the president tapped to fill the top RNC job when former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot left to become general chairman of Bush's re-election campaign.
Gillespie has indicated he is eager to return to the private sector, where he heads an influential lobbying and communications firm in partnership with former Clinton White House aide Jack Quinn.
The timetable for the announcement has not been announced.