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Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady steps down

Tuesday - 5/7/2013, 3:35pm  ET

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2009 file photo, Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady speaks at a news conference in Chicago. On Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Brady announced his resignation in a letter to the state party's central committee. Brady says he's stepping down for personal reasons and not because of rifts within the party. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady has resigned, citing his wife's battle with cancer and his desire to focus on family.

Social conservatives opposed to Brady's support of gay marriage and others have persistently called for him to resign the position he's held for nearly four years.

But Brady tells The Associated Press he's not bowing to pressure and that internal rifts worsened by 2012's poor election results didn't influence his decision.

Brady says his wife has battled "very serious" cancer for two years and that he wants to spend more time with her and their children.

Opponents have criticized Brady's support of a measure to legalize gay marriage before the Illinois Legislature. They also cite last year's elections when Illinois Democrats won veto-proof legislative majorities and picked up congressional seats.

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