Et Tu, Jim: Is It Curtains for Nicholson?

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Most of the nation's 31 Republican governors will meet in New Orleans this week to chew over the election results, install Oklahomaís Frank Keating as their new leader and discuss a possible coup. The target is Jim Nicholson, the GOP party chairman who many Republicans say shares the blame for making a hash of the recent elections and for being, looking and sounding too conservative in general. Several of the governors, including Michigan's John Engler, have said in public that itís time for Nicholson to pack his bags. Following the model used by the Democrats, the governors will discuss making an elected official, perhaps Engler himself or Virginia's Jim Gilmore, the GOP's new front man, while a more seasoned Washington fund-raiser could run the party day to day. Leading the race for the No. 2 spot is Wayne Berman, the finance chairman of the Republican Governors Association. The full Republican National Committee does not vote until January.