Paul deWitt stepped down as the chairman of Deschutes County Republicans on Thursday due to his health issues.

“I think it’s important to have someone lead the party who isn’t distracted by medical issues,” deWitt said Monday.

DeWitt, 71, served as the chair of the organization for about 10 months before stepping down last week. Mike Kusinska, the former vice chairman of the party, is the new chairman, deWitt said.

“I think he’ll do great job as chair, and I think he has good people to support him,” deWitt said. “We are pretty much in sync in terms of politics, so I don’t see a change in political direction coming.”

Overall, deWitt said he feels the party is in a good financial place, and he is excited about the organization opening a new office in advance of the 2020 election. He described his time as chairman as both challenging and enjoyable, especially when he was attempting to get different divisions of the party to head in the same policy direction.

“I sometimes likened it to herding cats,” deWitt said.

DeWitt was at the helm at the height of a recall effort to unseat Gov. Kate Brown, which formally ended due to a lack of signatures Monday. He was among a mostly quiet group of critics within the Republican Party that argued the recall distracted from efforts to win seats in the Legislature.

With his newfound time, deWitt plans to take cruise trips in Portugal and Scandinavia this fall and spring with his wife.

“I don’t know when the symptoms of my condition will start impacting my ability to do things,” he said.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160,