RNC names Hoekstra as chair of the Michigan Republican Party

RNC names Hoekstra as chair of the Michigan Republican Party

(Anna Liz Nichols/Michigan Advance)

By Michigan Advance

February 16, 2024


MICHIGAN—It’s a question that has been asked and answered, and yet, remains without a resolution.

Who runs the Michigan Republican Party?

As it has been for some time, that depends on who you ask.

On Wednesday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) seemingly provided a final answer, issuing a six-page report that formally recognizes former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra as the chairman of the MIGOP, effectively dethroning Kristina Karamo from the position she has held since she was elected in February 2023.

The decision was then unanimously ratified by the RNC executive committee.

“Both the RNC and our Party’s presumptive nominee Donald Trump, have now come forward and recognized me as the duly elected Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. It is time for the former Chair to join the fight to re-elect Donald Trump.  She would be welcomed,” said Hoekstra, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands during Trump’s term in office.

Hoekstra was chosen on Jan. 20 as the new chair of the Michigan Republican Party by a faction that earlier that month had voted to oust Karamo over the party’s dwindling finances as the 2024 election looms.

Karamo, a GOP former secretary of state nominee in 2022 who rose to prominence spreading election denier conspiracies supporting former President Donald Trump in 2020,  has contested her ouster as being against party bylaws. She has refused to relinquish control.

The RNC report did not change that stance.

“Today’s biased ruling further solidifies our position that the RNC has no authority to override the will of the MIGOP Precinct Delegates and State Committee members.  Their blatant disregard for the MIGOP bylaws and procedures is a travesty,” said an emailed statement from Karamo’s faction, which still holds access to the party’s website and email list.

“The Michigan Republican Party will continue to move forward under the leadership of the Karamo administration, and Kristina Karamo will continue serving as the duly elected Chairwoman. The RNC’s discriminatory actions against Chairwoman Karamo as a voting member only prompt us to take the necessary steps to protect the rights and will of the Michigan Republican Party Precinct Delegates, State Committee members, and voters,” continued the email.

The RNC report said the matter turned on four questions: whether the January 6 special meeting that ousted Karamo was properly held, whether the petition requesting a vote to remove her was properly filed, whether a quorum existed when the vote to remove her occurred, and whether the vote was sufficient to remove her.

To all four of those questions, the RNC report answered yes.

“Pursuant to Rule No. 3(b) of The Rules of the Republican Party and based on the foregoing analysis, the Committee recommends that the Republican National Committee recognize Ambassador Pete Hoekstra as the RNC member representing the position of the Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party,” it stated.

Karamo, as she has throughout the process, simply ignored the ruling or its implications.

“Bottomline, it’s business as usual for the Michigan Republican Party, and we look forward to engaging our fellow Republicans at the 2024 MIGOP District Convention in Detroit on March 2,” said the email.

That convention, set to be held at Huntington Place in Detroit, will decide how the majority of the state’s GOP presidential delegates will be awarded. How the Hoekstra faction of the party will gain control of that process remains unclear, although any delegates selected by the Karamo faction would likely be rejected at the party’s national convention.

However, a lawsuit over the party leadership in Kent County Circuit Court has a hearing set next week on a motion for a preliminary injunction in the case. If granted, it could place the force of the courts behind Hoekstra in gaining control of the party’s apparatus and key functions.

However, Karamo has told her followers that process is corrupt, laying out a conspiracy involving “globalists” and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that she says is trying to bring her down.

In a video posted on the MIGOP’s X social media account that she still controls, Karamo says an attorney representing party Co-Chair Malinda Pego in the Kent County lawsuit, Jonathan Lauderbach, is a partner at the law firm of Warner Norcross + Judd LLP, which also represents battery maker Gotion.

Gotion, based in California, is attempting to build a $2.36 billion electric vehicle battery factory in Mecosta County, but has come under scrutiny based on concerns its China-based parent company is connected to the CCP. Karamo used that controversy to connect the same forces trying to build the plant with trying to remove her.

“You connect the dots,” says Karamo. “My point to you is that we cannot tolerate this, and you have to know the truth of what’s going on. There has been an ongoing and very well-funded and coordinated effort to pit precinct delegates against one another to create chaos so the old order can return. Politics is dominated by three major things: bribery, blackmail and bullying. And when you won’t submit to those three, there’s going to be an effort to destroy you because those three elements allow for corrupt individuals to remain in office.”

WATCH: What’s the deal with the Michigan Republican Party?

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 


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