New Jersey

Samuel Raia, New Jersey's Republican state chairman, announces his resignation

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's Republican Party state chairman is stepping down.

Samuel Raia, who has held the post for the past three years, announced his resignation Tuesday, saying it would take effect immediately.

"We've surpassed each of our goals during the three years of my chairmanship – we've reelected our governor by historic margins, raised $8.8 million and laid the groundwork for the future success of our party," said Raia. "I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity provided by Governor Christie and members of the state committee to serve our party."

Raia endorsed Gov. Chris Christie's choice of Bill Stepien to be the state party's new leader.

Stepien was Christie's campaign manager in both of his races for governor and served as his deputy chief of staff from 2010 to 2012. Before that, he was national field director for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential campaign and then worked with John McCain's campaign in the general election.

"Bill Stepien is the best Republican operative in the country, and New Jersey Republicans will be fortunate to have him leading our party," Christie said.

Lynda Pagliughi, the state party's vice chairwoman, will serve as interim chair until Raia;s successor is approved.

Raia also serves as the mayor of Saddle River, a community in Bergen County.

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