Top Republican official stepping down

RALEIGH (AP) — The man leading day-to-day operations at North Carolina Republican Party for the past two years is stepping down from the job later this month.

Todd Poole announced his resignation in an email Monday to party Central Committee members. Poole said later his decision was voluntarily and he never intended to work through the 2016 election cycle at his current post.

No successor was immediately named. Poole leaves Aug. 31, less than three months after new party Chairman Hasan Harnett was elected to succeed Claude Pope, who didn’t seek re-election. Turnover is not unusual at party operations with a new chairman’s arrival.

Poole, a veteran campaign worker and consultant who also worked for Richard Burr and Virginia Foxx in the U.S. House, said to committee members he was leaving “to pursue other opportunities” but didn’t reveal specifics. Poole served at party headquarters when Republican Thom Tillis defeated Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in last November’s election and the GOP kept its veto-proof majorities at the legislature.

“While I am proud of what we have accomplished together over these past two years, I feel that now is the right time to turn over the reins to someone new with plenty of lead time before the next election,” Poole wrote.

Harnett also praised Poole for helping put the party in what he considers a financially strong position for this cycle, helping eliminate $84,000 in party debt. While the state Democratic Party announced raising slightly more money in its state account compared with Republicans in the first half of 2015, Poole said the state GOP is in better financial position than the state Democratic Party when their federal accounts are included.

“I’m confident that because of Todd’s leadership, we are poised to bring the Republican Party to new and even greater heights,” Harnett said in a release.

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