Michigan’s GOP Chair Drama Takes Another Nasty Turn

Getty Images/Sarah Rice
Getty Images/Sarah Rice

Less than a month before it’s set to host a key presidential primary, Michigan’s GOP leadership remains in disarray, with the party’s contested chairwoman, Kristina Karamo, slamming the Republican National Committee in a letter to its members on Tuesday.

Karamo, who was ousted by her fellow state party members this month but claims her removal was illegal, accused the RNC of “colluding” against her after it ruled last week that she was indeed “properly removed” from her position.

Both Karamo and Pete Hoekstra now say they’re the current party chair in Michigan, with both Republicans recently issuing statements through official Michigan GOP channels—adding to the confusion of who’s actually in charge.

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With Michigan being a key battleground state in the 2024 election, the RNC stepped in last week to make a ruling that’d possibly put an end to the mess, writing that its lawyers determined the process that led to Karamo’s ouster was legitimate.

That decision has only raised tensions in the party, however, with Karamo asserting in Tuesday’s letter that the RNC and Hoekstra, a former House member and ambassador to the Netherlands, colluded to have her removed. She also issued a warning to other GOP chairs across the country, writing, “Your state could be next.”

“RNC legal told me they stay out of these matters and that it is up to the state to send their chair. However, their actions contradict what they told me,” wrote Karamo. “Hoekstra was on a radio show last week bragging that he expected the RNC to weigh in a day or two. And that is precisely what happened.”

Karamo, an election denier, has made spouting conspiracy theories—especially those regarding the 2020 presidential race—part of her M.O., including a bizarre claim that Democrats drink the blood of children and “sell baby body parts” after abortions.

Michigan’s GOP had been in financial turmoil under Karamo’s leadership, with court filings alleging the party has been in default on loan payments for the last three months, Raw Story reported. These money issues and general dysfunction were cited by state GOP members as reason they voted to oust Karamo.

While the RNC called Karamo’s removal legitimate, against her claims that a proper process wasn’t followed during voting, the national committee has stopped short of outright saying that Hoekstra is the state party’s leader.

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Instead, the RNC said in its own letter last week that if Karamo or Hoekstra showed up at the RNC’s winter meetings in Las Vegas, they would not be credentialed as committee members but could attend as guests. The letter added that the RNC has limited power to settle state party leadership disputes, and essentially urged the Michigan GOP to figure out this mess on their own—and fast.

That wasn’t enough for Karamo, however, and she’s now asking the RNC’s 168 members to push back against their own lawyers’ advice and urge her full reinstatement as Michigan’s lone GOP chair.

“I’m requesting that all 168 RNC members demand full transparency regarding the Michigan chair dispute and the RNC’s involvement,” she said. “This impacts all of us. If the will of the Michigan precinct delegates and state central committee can be unilaterally usurped by the RNC leadership, understand that your state could be next.”

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