State GOP chairman not stepping down

Tim Shallenburger said Tuesday he will remain chairman of the Kansas Republican Party, despite widespread assertions he would step down this week.

“I am not resigning,” Shallenburger told the Journal-World on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s been a very big story that didn’t exist.”

E-mails and phone calls about a pending Shallenburger resignation began flying among GOP political operatives after a Friday gathering of the Pachyderm Club in Wichita, where anti-abortion activist Mark Gietzen criticized Shallenburger for welcoming pro-abortion officials into the party. Word spread to Kansas political blogs Tuesday morning.

Shallenburger said Tuesday that he did “snap back” at Gietzen.

Some Journal-World sources said Shallenburger was ready to step down, but that the former House speaker was persuaded by other Republicans to stay put.

Shallenburger would only say: “I have had some discussions with people about the direction of the party, but I haven’t resigned or been told to resign.”

Shallenburger lost to Kathleen Sebelius in the 2002 race for governor. He became Kansas GOP chairman in February.