Charlie Webster, the hard-charging partisan who helped orchestrate a Republican takeover in Augusta only to see it slip away two years later, said Thursday that he will not seek re-election as chairman of the Maine Republican Party.

Webster announced his decision two days after Republicans lost control of both the House and Senate. But while the party has made significant strides in fundraising and recruiting candidates under Webster, it has also been wracked by internal tensions – including, at times, between Webster and the other Republican top dog, Gov. Paul LePage.

“Within two days of [LePage’s] election, he made clear that his people were going to run the party,” Webster said Thursday evening. “I made clear that wasn’t going to happen.”

Webster notified Republican State Committee members of his decision on Thursday. The committee will meet Dec. 1 to elect new party leaders.

Webster said he was proud of his tenure as party chairman and believes he would have had enough support to serve another term.

“If we had won the Legislature, I might have stayed another term,” Webster said. “But I promised my wife that I would only do four years … to see if we can make a difference, and I think we did.”


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