The chair of the Iowa Republican Party will step down from his position amid controversy over the bungled results of the state's vaunted primary caucus.

Matthew Strawn, who said he will resign Feb. 10, had come under criticism over the handling of the first-in-the-nation caucus results that initially ended with a slim eight-vote victory for Mitt Romney over Rick Santorum.

Strawn had dubbed Romney the winner at the end of the Jan. 3 caucus. But by the time GOP officials received the final tally, Santorum had a 34-vote lead over the former Massachusetts governor. There were, however, eight precincts whose official tallies could not be certified.

After toying with the idea of a tie, Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, was eventually deemed the winner of the Iowa caucus on Jan. 20. Nonetheless, Santorum's supporters cried foul and accused Strawn of being biased toward Romney.

The confusion caused fear among Iowa Republicans that the state's key position in presidential primary politics was jeopardized.

Despite all of the positive things that he has accomplished as chairman, Strawn failed at the most critical task he had to oversee -- protecting and maintaining Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus status, Craig Robinson, a former Iowa GOP official, wrote on his site, The Iowa Republican.

Strawn, who became GOP chairman in 2009, never mentioned the controversy in his resignation letter. He discussed his success in beefing up the party's fundraising, voter registration and electoral victories.

The party is strong and has the resources in place for victory in November, Strawn wrote. Now is the time to transition to new leadership.

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