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GOP Chair to consider stepping aside

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: GOP Chair to consider stepping aside
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Republicans are confident that 2010 could be a big year for their party. But in the midst of that positive energy, Onondaga County's republican committee is embroiled in an internal battle that could lead to a shakeup at the top. YNN's Bill Carey says that battle could come to a head just days after the September 14th primary.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "The dynamics are always there, in any political group."

John DeSpirito has seen better days. Just after this year's primary, a county committee meeting is due to decide on who will be chairman for the next two years. DeSpirito has three challengers, none of whom he says he would support for the top job.

"Good people, but to run our party, I would not support them. I will not take my support from the committee, that trusts me immensely, to put my support behind any of those three," DeSpirito said.

DeSpirito is seeking another term, despite pressure for him to step aside.

Elected officials met in early August to discuss the situation. Town party chairmen met just last week.

One chairman said in an email to party members, "Our current state of affairs includes a County Chairman and County Executive who don't speak, much less work together; a bank account balance of -$28 with a $16,000 loan outstanding; a staff of three at County Committee that haven't been paid in two years."

Party finances may have been impacted by the feud between DeSpirito and County Executive Joanie Mahoney, dating back to her successful challenge of the party's choice for executive back in 2007.

The town chairmen also had a strong message for the County Executive, saying it was time for her to work with and cooperate with the county republican committee.

"I haven't had a single substantive conversation with the chairman of the republican party in more than two years. If you want that relationship, then put him back. If you want a new, better relationship, then you have to pick somebody that wants to work with me," said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

A possible compromise may be in the works. DeSpirito now says he is talking to at least two potential candidates for county chairman.

"If they don't step up, I, more than likely, would probably seek another term," DeSpirito said.

Our reporter said, "But if one of those two.."

"...stepped up?" DeSpirito continued. "I would not seek another term."

No exact date for a chairmanship vote has been set, yet. It must come by early October.

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