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Mel Martinez to call it quits as RNC chief?

So says columnist Robert Novak.

He writes that the Florida senator, who was named general chairman of the Republican Party "only nine months ago, has advised associates that he will leave the post as soon as somebody clinches the party's presidential nomination. That probably will come after the Feb. 5 primary elections next year.

When Martinez took the party post Jan. 19, it was expected he would stay on through the 2008 elections as the GOP's principal national spokesman. Many Republicans now grumble that Martinez has been ineffective in that role, partly because he has been drowned out by the many presidential hopefuls.

Kentucky lawyer Mike Duncan, who came on board with Martinez as chairman of the Republican National Committee, is expected to remain running day-to-day operations at national party headquarters for the balance of his two-year term."