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Friday, January 19, 2007
RNC elects new leadership heading into 2008
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Republican National Committee elected two new leaders Friday as it gets set to head into what is likely to be a highly competitive election cycle.

Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida will serve as the committee's general chairman and current RNC counsel Mike Duncan will become chairman. Martinez, who will retain his Senate seat, will serve as the party's lead spokesman and assume a major fundraising role while Duncan will oversee the committee's day-to-day operations.

Duncan was elected unanimously but Martinez received a few dissents because of his support for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. Born in Cuba, Martinez fled to the United States when he was 15.

"The fact that a boy at age 15 can come here from another country, with nothing, not even speaking the language of this country -- and stand before you today as a leader of our great party, and a United States senator -- is a miracle that could only happen in America," Martinez said in his acceptance speech.

-- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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