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Erik Fresen steps down as Miami-Dade GOP chair

State Rep. Erik Fresen resigned as chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party on Wednesday, saying he could not commit to heading the party while taking part in a likely contested campaign for his own seat this fall.

With the Florida Senate still deciding on its redistricting map, Fresen, of Miami, said he does not yet know if he’s going seek a Senate seat or re-election to the House. In either case, he would almost certainly face a Republican opponent — and possible criticism that he could be taking advantage of his position as party chair.

“I do not want that to happen,” Fresen said late Wednesday at a meeting of the local GOP, known as the Republican Executive Committee.

He told the more than 100 members present that the party would soon call for an election to replace him. In the meantime, Fresen handed the gavel to Vice Chairman Luis Rodriguez to serve as interim chair.

“This in no way will affect the operations — or, more importantly, the goal of this party,” Fresen said before receiving a standing ovation.

Fresen had signaled in an email to party members last week that he might be stepping down, warning them of a “personal” announcement coming at Wednesday’s meeting.

Some party members had grumbled for months that Fresen was too busy serving in Tallahassee to dedicate himself to the important business of fundraising for local Republican candidates in a presidential election year. The once-flush party had $3,076.65 in its federal bank account as of January 31 — and in its state account, only $100. More here.