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GOP Chairman

By Associated Press

Oklahoma City – OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Gary Jones says he will step down next week as the party's leader in Oklahoma.

Jones told The Associated Press on Friday that he will formally resign from the post Monday to focus on his campaign for State Auditor and Inspector.

Jones says vice-chairman Angie LaPlante will take over as interim chairman until the state committee votes to elect a new chairman on June 26.

Jones was first elected chairman in 2003, but stepped down when he ran for state auditor in 2006. After that unsuccessful statewide campaign, he was re-elected party chairman in 2007.

Jones is launching his third bid for state auditor against incumbent Democrat Steve Burrage, who was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2008.