The executive director of the Montana Republican Party has resigned after less than a year in the position.

Chris Shipp said Thursday his last day with the party was Sept. 30.

Shipp says he previously decided to leave before the 2016 election season, but he stayed until now to help new party Chairman Jeff Essmann create a transition plan.

Shipp became GOP executive director in December. He was the party's communications director in the 2012 and 2014 elections, and he says he didn't want to go through a third cycle.

Party spokesman Shane Scanlon declined to answer questions Thursday about Shipp's resignation.

Instead, Scanlon forwarded a statement from party Chairman Jeff Essmann saying he is grateful for Shipp's service and the resignation opens an opportunity for another "bright and energetic Republican."

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