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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

GOP chairman resigns

Didn't know the disagreement between GOP chariman William Hamzy and Governor Rell would lead to this.

From The Hartford Courant

William A. Hamzy resigned Monday as Republican state chairman, leaving the GOP with a key vacancy to fill in the early weeks of Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign for governor.

Hamzy, 39, a state representative from Plymouth, said he will step down Dec. 2, less than a year after Rell installed him in the job.

The resignation comes just weeks after Hamzy and the governor's staff clashed over the GOP soliciting contributions from lobbyists and state contractors - legal sources that Rell has voluntarily placed off limits for her own campaign.

Hamzy declined Monday to talk about that disagreement, saying his resignation was motivated by a conflict over time, not policy.

"I believe this job can be done on a part-time basis," Hamzy said of being chairman, "but only if it's your second job."

It was Hamzy's third. In addition to being a legislator, Hamzy maintains a private law practice. He also is married and the father of two children, aged 3 and 5.

Judd Everhart, the governor's spokesman, said Rell appreciated Hamzy's service to the party and the difficulty of being a legislator, lawyer and state chairman.

"The governor understands this and wishes him well," he said.

No successor has been selected.

Hamzy, who came to prominence last year as a member of the House impeachment committee that investigated gifts and favors accepted by Gov. John G. Rowland, said his resignation was not sought by Rell.

The state chairman is elected by the 72-member Republican State Central Committee, but the panel nearly always defers to a sitting governor's choice.

The party organization showed some independence under Hamzy, issuing a resolution and a press release at odds with Rell on civil unions for same-sex couples.

Hamzy and the GOP state central committee urged lawmakers to define marriage as between a man and a woman - a position shared by Rell. But Hamzy in a related press release broke with the governor by equating same-sex marriage with civil unions.

"We should stop the parsing of words - this is gay marriage pure and simple," Hamzy said.

Rell later signed the civil unions bill into law.

More recently, Rell called the legislature into special session on campaign finance legislation on the very day Hamzy was hosting a golf-tournament fundraiser for the cash-strapped party.