- The Washington Times - Friday, July 2, 2010

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, widely discussed as a potential 2012 Republican presidential nomination candidate, is about to lose his main man on the Republican party’s national governing body that the Yazoo, Miss., native once headed.

David Norcross has told The Washington Times he plans to relinquish his position as national committeeman from New Jersey at the Republican National Committee’s annual summer meeting — which RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele has suddenly decided will be held in Kansas City, Mo., instead of in Detroit, where members had originally been told it would be held.

Mr. Norcross was RNC general counsel when Mr. Barbour was RNC chairman in the mid-1990s when the Republicans swept the Democrats into the minority in both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years.

Mr. Norcross and Mr. Barbour have remained close friends and allies ever since.

“I no longer own property in New Jersey and have been spending less time there on business and feel it’s not quite appropriate for me to represent the state on the national committee,” Mr. Norcross told The Washington Times.

Mr. Norcross lives with his wife Laurie in Virginia and is a partner in a law firm with offices in the District of Columbia.

He told friends he was reluctant to seek re-election to the RNC the last time around but wanted to finish up work that he had started on the 2012 schedule for presidential primaries. “That work is done now,” Mr. Norcross said.

Mr. Norcross presided over what many Republicans consider was one of the GOP’s most successful presidential nominating conventions — held in New York City in 2004.

New stories have circulated that New Jersey’s newly elected Republican Gov. Chris Christie wants to replace Mr. Norcross with Mr. Christie top political adviser and former law partner Bill Palatucci — and has asked Mr. Norcross to resign from the national committee.

Many Republicans, including some respected conservatives, have been talking up Mr. Christie as the party’s standard bearer for 2012. Others remain ardent fans of Mr. Barbour, who as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has raised record sums of money this year for the RGA, just as he raised record sums as RNC chairman in 1994.

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