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Kristina Karamo: I’m ‘undisputed’ GOP chair. Not so fast, critics say

Kristina Karamo speaking at a podium.
Kristina Karamo's administration announced Saturday that state GOP committee members voted to keep her on the job by a vote of 59-1, following a vote by another group of committee members to oust her the previous week.
  • Michigan Republican State Committee members voted Saturday to keep Kristina Karamo as state party chair and remove her top critics
  • A separate faction voted last weekend to remove Karamo
  • The leadership dispute could head to court as soon as Monday

Jan. 18: Karamo demands Michigan GOP foes ‘cease and desist’ from defaming her
Jan. 17: Bank: Michigan GOP defaulted on $500K loan, hasn’t made payment in months

LANSING — Leadership turmoil within the Michigan Republican Party continued Saturday, with one faction announcing Kristina Karamo is the “undisputed” chair of the state GOP one week after another group voted to remove her.

Karamo’s administration on Saturday announced state committee members voted to keep her on the job by a vote of 59-1. Her administration said members also voted to oust some of her strongest critics from the party’s state committee and ban her former co-chair, Malinda Pego, for five years. 

“This is a happy day of remembrance because it represents a renewed unification of spirit and purpose within the Michigan Republican Party,” Karamo said in a statement following her leadership vote during a meeting in Houghton Lake.

“Now,” she said, ”we can focus on pooling resources to engage and energize Michiganders to join our party to help us win more elections throughout the state in 2024 and future elections.”


Six weeks before Michigan’s presidential primary, the vote did nothing to quell a civil war within the party. Karamo critics, who last weekend claimed to oust her in a separate 40-5 vote, said they had canceled Saturday’s meeting before it began. And once it started, they alleged Karamo violated party rules in even holding the contested vote.

"They're just unilaterally destroying things as they go," Jon Rocha, a Karamo opponent and state committee member from Hastings, told Bridge Michigan in a phone interview. “They are so blatantly in violation of the bylaws.”

After a week of dueling statements and updates on competing Michigan GOP websites, Karamo opponents are planning to take the fight to court as soon as Monday, former 9th Congressional District Chair Warren Carpenter told Bridge.

The leadership fight has followed a rocky first 11 months for Karamo, whose tenure has been marked by poor fundraising, party disputes and physical altercations among rival party members.

The Republican National Party has not yet taken a side, although a spokesperson on Monday said the national party would be reviewing documentation from last weekend’s Karamo removal vote. 

With the most recent vote on Saturday, Karamo is now claiming support from a majority of the 107 members on the Michigan GOP state committee, which is composed of party insiders elected by the same Republican precinct delegates who in February chose Karamo to lead the state party.

“The matter has been settled,” Karamo said in a video statement distributed to GOP precinct delegates. “I’m so looking forward to us winning in 2024.”

Karamo’s celebration was undermined by a new statement released during the Saturday meeting from nine of the Michigan GOP’s 13 congressional district chairs, who announced they continue to recognize last weekend’s vote to remove Karamo as well as General Counsel Dan Hartman.

The group claims Pego — Karamo’s former co-chair — remains acting chair until the state committee meets later this month to select a replacement.

But Karamo’s administration said Saturday that state committee members voted to remove and ban Pego, declare last week’s meeting “illegitimate,” replace Kalamazoo County GOP leaders and remove six state committee members who had helped organize against Karamo, including Bree Moeggenberg of Mt. Pleasant.

"I suppose I'm flattered that they despised me so much," Moeggenberg, who did not attend what she called an "illegitimate meeting,” told Bridge, making clear that she does not believe the removal vote is binding. 

Karamo supporters have rallied behind her since last weekend’s attempted removal, accusing her critics of plotting with the "deep state" to undermine her leadership since she was elected by precinct delegates in February 2023. 

Several county chapters — including Ottawa, Dickinson, Antrim, Missaukee, Charlevoix and Otsego — adopted resolutions affirming they recognize Karamo as Michigan GOP chair. 

“The establishment has pulled the rug out from underneath Kristina, and they're blaming her for falling,” 4th Congressional District Chair Ken Beyer said this week in a video urging fellow Republicans to support Karamo.“They've been beating her up for 10 months now and blaming her for the black eye.”

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