Michigan GOP Votes to Remove Leader, Who Refuses to Leave

Kristina Karamo climbed the ranks while championing conspiracy theories
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2024 4:45 PM CST
Michigan GOP Votes to Remove Leader, Who Refuses to Leave
Kristina Karamo speaks to Michigan Republican Party delegates in February 2023, in Lansing.   (AP Photo/Joey Cappelletti, File)

Michigan Republicans have voted to remove state GOP Chairwoman Kristina Karamo during a meeting Saturday after many of the party's leaders called for her resignation following a year of leadership plagued by debt and infighting. A large majority of those present voted to oust Karamo, said Bree Moeggenberg, District 2 state committeewoman. Karamo did not attend the meeting and made it clear she would not recognize the vote if removed, claiming the meeting was not official and had been illegally organized. The unfolding situation could set the stage for a court fight to determine control of the highest position within the Michigan GOP, the AP reports.

The internal dispute takes place as Michigan Republicans look to rebound from 2022 midterms in which they suffered historic losses. The party is aiming this year to flip an open US Senate seat while also helping the Republican presidential nominee win the battleground state. Michigan is among the swing states where parties overtaken by far-right leadership have struggled to overcome infighting and money issues; similar situations have unfolded in Georgia and Arizona. Karamo had reported the Michigan party had nearly $500,000 in debt as of October, with another $110,000 owed to actor Jim Caviezel for a speaking appearance.

Karamo, a former community college instructor, rose through the state's Republican ranks by spreading election conspiracies after the 2020 presidential election. She eventually was backed by Donald Trump in her run for secretary of state in 2022, losing by 14 percentage points in a result that she still refuses to concede. In February, Karamo was elected by grassroots activists alongside her co-chair, Malinda Pego, to lead the state party through the 2024 elections. Less than a year later, Pego signed a petition seeking a vote on removing Karamo. Eight of the state party's 13 congressional district chairs called on Karamo to resign last week, citing financial instability stemming from insufficient fundraising and asking Karamo to "put an end to the chaos in our party" by stepping down.

(More Republican Party stories.)

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