COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Republican Party's former chairman Bob Bennett says he's grateful for support he's received from GOP members to return to the job.

Current state party Chairman Kevin DeWine has announced he's stepping down next week amid bitter party infighting with Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY-sihk).

Bennett is one of the most successful and longest-serving Republican Party chairmen in Ohio. He held the job from 1988 until 2009.

Bennett told The Associated Press on Thursday that he hopes to arrive at a final decision in the next day or so. He declined to comment further.

Franklin County GOP chairman Doug Preisse (PRY'-se) said Bennett has indicated a willingness to take over for DeWine. He says Bennett is best equipped to immediately take the reins ahead of the fall presidential election.