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Putnam to Step Down as Conference Chairman

In the wake of a resounding Democratic victory on election night, House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) sent a letter to his GOP colleagues late Tuesday night announcing that he will step down from his leadership post.

Putnam is the first GOP leadership casualty this election, but he may not be the last. In his letter, he tells his colleagues that he will not stand for another term as Conference chairman, nor will he seek another leadership post. Putnam said he decided against running again in order “to return to focusing on policy,” according to a Putnam aide.

“With the issues before us today come bipartisan opportunities and partisan differences,” Putnam tells his colleagues. “I want to fight the battles worth fighting and lock arms to strengthen our nation whenever possible.”

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, already had been looking at a challenge to Putnam as Conference chairman. He is believed to be the leading candidate for the No. 3 GOP leadership post in the next Congress.

The rest of the GOP hierarchy for the 111th remains in flux. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has been working to shore up support from the rank-and-file for his job, is expected to announce this week whether he will seek another two years as the top House Republican. Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) is also likely to decide in the coming days what his future holds, with many speculating he may step aside as well.

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