The chairman of the Orange County (Calif.) Republican Party, Scott Baugh, has called on party central committee member Marilyn Davenport to resign.
Baugh said the party's ethics panel will hold a hearing into the incident if she does not resign, The Orange County Register reported Sunday.
Davenport's e-mail, sent Friday shows a portrait-style family image of apes with President Obama's face superimposed over one of them accompanied by the text: "Now you know why no birth certificate."
"It's just highly inappropriate, it's a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee," Baugh said. "It undermines everything we are doing to reach out to ethnic communities."
Michael Schroeder, former chairman of the California Republican Party, also damned the image, calling for Davenport's resignation or ouster.
"My jaw dropped when I saw it," Schroeder said. "I've never seen anything so offensive sent out by an elected official."
Davenport, who represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on the committee, which is comprised of volunteer officers elected for two-year terms. The group works to raise funds, campaign and consider debating policy for the Republican Party, the newspaper said.
The Register said Davenport could not be reached for comment but did get hold of an e-mail she sent to her "Central Committee colleagues" in which she said, in part:
"I'm sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth. In no way did I even consider the fact he's half-black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race.
"That being said, I will NOT resign my Central Committee position over this matter that the average person knows and agrees is much to do about nothing."