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California Republican chairman will not run again to head party

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The chairman of the California Republican Party will not seek another term as leader of the organization in the country's most populous state, where rival Democrats increasingly dominate the state Legislature, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Tom Del Beccaro, who took over last year as chairman of the state Republican Party, said in a statement this week to supporters and provided to Reuters on Thursday that it was time "to pause from party politics."

"That doesn't mean that I will be leaving the cause - just joining a different phase that has always been a goal of mine," he said, adding he planned to complete two book projects.

The California Republican Party has struggled in recent years as the state long known for liberal politics has tilted more to the left. Del Beccaro's decision not to seek re-election at the party's convention in March raises more questions about which direction the party will take.

The state Republican Party has seen the percentage of California voters registered as Republicans decline to 30.1 percent in the most recent tally, from 36.8 percent in 1996, according to figures from the California Secretary of State's Office.

In taking over as state party chairman in March 2011, Del Beccaro said the party had fallen into the trap of "talking to the converted," according to an story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We've become the party of limited communication," he was quoted as saying.

Among the challenges for California Republicans in recent years has been how to connect with the state's growing Latino population during a heated national debate over immigration.

Del Beccaro will stay on until he is replaced at the convention in March.

(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

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