TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ The Reform Party's new interim chairman says he wants to hold onto his job despite its obvious drawbacks.

The party ``sort of runs the chairman instead of the other way around,'' Gerry Moan said this week. ``It's not easy.''

Moan, vice chairman since July, became chairman of the fractious organization when Pat Choate resigned Friday, citing family illness.

Party officials as well as a presidential nominee are to be elected at the Reform convention Aug. 10-13 in Long Beach, Calif.

Former Republican candidate and right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan is favored for the nomination, but his election could further divide the party's rank and file. Some state parties have said they would follow the breakaway Minnesota Reform Party rather than accept Buchanan.

``We need to get people to focus on what we agree on rather than what we disagree on,'' Moan said.

The party suffered an acrimonious split between supporters of founder Ross Perot and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who was elected under the Reform Party banner but abandoned his membership in February.

Perot supporters ousted Ventura ally Jack Gargan from the chairman's post in a raucous meeting held a few days after Ventura's desertion.

Both Moan and Choate, Perot' running mate in 1996, are Perot allies, though Moan has tried to remain neutral during the recent strife.

Moan, 52, is a Long Island, N.Y., native who moved to Tucson in 1998. He is a materials manager for Maxi Switch Inc., a manufacturer of computer circuit boards.