CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Republican Party officials say they've reached an agreement to share leadership of the party, heading off a weekend fight between moderates and conservatives over who should be the next state GOP chairman.

Conservatives were backing Lake County GOP Chairman Mark Shaw against Tim Schneider, the current state chairman hand-picked by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The election is scheduled for Saturday.

In a news release late Tuesday, the party says Shaw and Schneider have agreed Schneider will continue as chairman while Shaw will be co-chairman, leading "conservative and grassroots outreach." Shaw also will run Saturday for president of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen's Association.

Conservatives have been critical of Rauner's actions on issues such as abortion and immigration, prompting state Rep. Jeanne Ives to challenge him in a closer-than-expected March primary.

Ives said Wednesday she's "guardedly optimistic" about the new arrangement but reserving judgment until it's put into practice.