Republican Infighting Devolves Into Skirmish at Northern Michigan Bar

Republican Party leaders argue before things turn physical at a bar in Clare. (Video Screenshot/ @umichvoter via Twitter)

By Kyle Kaminski

April 20, 2023

What happens when Michigan Republicans disagree?

They fight—literally.

MICHIGAN—A new video shared on social media this week offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how the Michigan Republican Party is handling its newfound life under the leadership of noted conspiracy theorist and recently elected party chairwoman Kristina Karamo.

Spoiler Alert: It’s pretty messy.

The video recording, which was first reported by Bridge Michigan but has since been repeatedly shared by several dozen people on various social media accounts, shows a confrontation between Kalamazoo Republican Party Chairwoman Kelly Sackett and Macomb County Republican Party Secretary Melissa Pehlis. And it ends with Pehlis shoving Sackett in the head.

The two women reportedly represent two competing factions of the Michigan GOP—one side that supports Karamo, who lost her race for Michigan Secretary of State by 14 points last year, and another that’s still fiercely loyal to former Republican Attorney General candidate Matt DePerno, who lost to Karamo in his bid to become the party’s chairperson.

After a brief argument, Sackett can be seen in the video knocking a cigarette and a phone from Pehlis’ hand. Pehlis can be seen responding by shoving her open hand into Sackett’s head before a man standing behind them intervenes in an attempt to separate the two Republicans. 

The incident allegedly occurred at the Doherty Hotel in Clare on the eve of a recent state Republican Party leadership meeting. Sackett reportedly filed a police complaint.

READ MORE: Election Conspiracist Takes Reins of Michigan Republican Party


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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