Former Colorado governor Roy Romer will step down as general chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) today and likely will be replaced by Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell in a move designed to combat the fund-raising prowess of Texas Gov. George W. Bush and the Republican Party.

Romer said he will serve as chairman of the Democratic Convention Committee, adding that the post would allow him to concentrate on delivering the party's message in the campaign while making room at the DNC for someone with more credentials as a fund-raiser. "I came to do message, not money," Romer said in an interview.

Rendell was scheduled to meet with President Clinton last night to discuss the job. A formal offer was expected at that meeting, with his selection to be ratified at this weekend's DNC meeting in Washington.

The leadership switch at the DNC reflects the growing concern within the party over whether the DNC is equipped for the coming presidential campaign and comes amid reports of staff unrest. With Bush raising unprecedented amounts, the DNC is under pressure to beat all records of party fund-raising for the 2000 election. It has not been meeting those expectations.

Not Keen on Keeping Buchanan in the Fold

Arizona Sen. John McCain yesterday broke with fellow candidates for the Republican presidential nomination who argue that party leaders should try to prevent Patrick J. Buchanan from bolting to the Reform Party.

"It is evident to me by Pat Buchanan's own rhetoric that he has left the Republican Party," McCain said in a statement. "I am fully aware of the political implications of a Buchanan third party candidacy. But regardless of what the polls show, our party must stand on principle." Most polls suggest that Buchanan would take votes from the GOP nominee.

McCain attacked Buchanan for saying in his new book, "A Republic, Not an Empire," that the United States should have stayed out of the war with Germany. After Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Germany had neither the manpower nor the will to take on another adversary, Buchanan argued. "By the fall of 1941, the two great combatants were Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. Most Americans did not believe their husbands, fathers, or sons should die for either one."

The book has elicited a storm of criticism. Yesterday, Buchanan spent much of a one-hour appearance on CNN defending it.

McCain said: "Defeating Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan was a very noble cause. And I wouldn't want any Republican to ever think otherwise--or any American for that matter."

Brown's Widow Behind in Vote Count

It looks as if the widow of Rep. George E. Brown Jr. (D-Calif.) will not succeed her husband. With all precincts reporting, Marta Macias Brown was trailing fellow Democrat Joe Baca by 488 votes in Tuesday's special election. But she refused to concede, citing the 1,750 ballots yet to be counted. The final tally is to be announced Friday. If the count holds, Baca, a state senator, will face third-place finisher Elia Pirozzi, a Republican lawyer, in a Nov. 16 runoff because no candidate won a majority.

Staff writer Thomas B. Edsall contributed to this report.