UPDATED: Md. GOP chair urges Kittleman not to resign as Senate minority leader
Maryland Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) announced Tuesday that will step down as minority leader because it has become apparent that his colleagues do not want a "social moderate" leading the caucus.
The move comes two weeks after Kittleman announced he will sponsor a bill allowing civil unions in Maryland for both heterosexual and same-sex partners.
"It is more important for me to stay true to my principles than it is for me to be the Minority Leader," Kittleman said in a statement.
He said he made his decision after meeting with the other 11 GOP senators in the 47-member Senate.
"It was apparent that the majority of the caucus members do not want a fiscal conservative who is also a social moderate as the leader of the caucus," Kittleman said.
Kittleman has been minority leader for two years. He was previously minority whip, the No. 2 position among Republicans. He will officially step down once a new leader is selected.
Hours after Kittleman's surprising announcement Tuesday, state Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney urged him to reconsider.
Mooney, an outspoken conservative and former senator, said he had called Kittleman personally, and encouraged other senators and grass-roots party members to publicly show support for Kittleman's continued leadership.
In a media statement, Mooney praised Kittleman's record and campaign efforts on behalf of other candidates "without requiring any litmus test on issues."
"While Republicans in elected office and Republican voters at the grass-roots level will not agree on every issue," Mooney said in the statement, Kittleman's overall record fits "well within the values of the Republican Party."
This post has been updated since it was first published.
| January 18, 2011; 5:59 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly, John Wagner
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