Long after factions voted to oust Kristina Karamo from her post as chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party, the chaos around her remains.
Concerned with Karamo’s capacity to advance the party and her failure to address its alleged $500,000 debt, forty state committee members voted on January 6 to remove her as chair.
According to Karamo, the faction was in contempt of court for violating state statutes and had zero legal authority to conduct business regarding the Michigan Republican Party or its State Committee.
Sixty members of a state committee associated with Karamo voted to retain the troubled chairperson in her position in a follow-up vote held on January 13.
The party distributed a URL to the RNC website that, even after more than two weeks following the contentious vote, still lists Karamo as the state chairman.
A group inside the Michigan Republican Party that endorsed removing Chair Kristina Karamo due to the party’s declining finances selected Pete Hoekstra, a former U.S. House member and ambassador to the Netherlands, as their new chair on Saturday in Lansing.
The party’s leadership is still up for debate, with Karamo and her supporters arguing that the meeting on January 6th, when she was removed from office, was invalid since it didn’t follow party rules.
Separately, on January 13 near Houghton Lake, the Karamo faction met and opted to reinstate her as head while expelling her opponents from the state committee.
Hoekstra, who defeated Lena Epstein, a former Republican congressional candidate from 2018, on the second ballot with a score of 50-22, has stated that openness to the media and Republicans with concerns about the party will characterize his chairmanship.
Despite stiff competition, Karamo—nominated for secretary of state by the GOP in 2022—was chosen chair of the MIGOP in 2023 to succeed Ron Weiser, who was retiring. After giving it some thought, Hoekstra decided not to run.
Vance Patrick, chair of the Republican Party in Oakland County, had also run for party leadership, but he claimed to have received a call from Mar-a-Lago when he was in the midst of the election and was losing badly. After being prompted by former President Donald Trump, Patrick endorsed Hoekstra.
Before Saturday’s meeting, Patrick said that the party needs to quit bickering and get to work, regardless of how the faction votes.