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Florida's GOP chairman Greer steps down

Days before Republican activists planned to vote state GOP chairman Jim Greer out of office, he bowed to their pressure Tuesday and resigned suddenly in a blow to Gov. Charlie Crist, who had picked Greer for the post and stood squarely behind him to the end.

"I cannot be a participant in the shredding and tearing in the fabric of the Republican Party," Greer said in announcing his decision and accusing critics of spreading false accusations about his leadership and financial management.

State Sen. John Thrasher, a former Florida House speaker, emerged as the consensus replacement choice of establishment Republican leaders, though county party leaders raised concerns about backroom deals to anoint a new chairman and questions arose about Thrasher's ability to hold office and lead the party at the same time.

Republicans on all sides of the increasingly bitter internal divide hoped Greer's decision would unite a deeply fractured state party even as Thrasher potentially faces a contested election for chairman next month and as bitter feelings remain about the direction of the once mighty Florida GOP.

Barely a year ago, Greer, 47, was talking about running for chairman of the Republican National Committee. On Tuesday he cast himself as a victim of internal warfare between conservative and moderate Republicans.

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