In the latest twist of the ongoing Michigan Republican Party leadership feud, former President Donald Trump has thrown his influential support behind Pete Hoekstra, escalating tensions in the already divided party. The endorsement, while not resolving the dispute, places considerable strain on Kristina Karamo’s continued leadership claim.
According to Bridge Michigan, Trump’s backing of Hoekstra comes amidst a contentious battle for control of the Michigan GOP. Karamo, asserting her position as chair of the party, has labeled her recent ouster vote as ‘illegal.’ However, the Republican National Committee (RNC), after an initial review, deemed Karamo’s removal as ‘properly executed.’
Hoekstra, a former U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands appointed by Trump in 2018, expressed gratitude for the endorsement, seeing it as a vote of confidence in his ability to lead the state party to triumph. He emphasized his commitment to uniting the party and supporting Trump as the presumptive 2024 nominee, despite former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s presence in the primary race.
Karamo, known for her stance as a 2020 election denier and her refusal to concede her 14-point loss in the 2022 Michigan Secretary of State race, remains defiant. Despite the RNC’s stance and Trump’s backing of Hoekstra, she continues to maintain control over the state party’s bank accounts and social media channels.
The internal conflict in the Michigan GOP first became evident when a faction of the state committee voted to remove Karamo, citing issues with her fundraising approach and handling of local party disputes. In retaliation, Karamo conducted a separate meeting where her supporters voted to retain her and expel some of her critics from the party.
This legal and political tug-of-war reached a peak when, following the lawsuit against Karamo in Kent County court, Hoekstra was selected by her critics to assume the leadership role.
The Michigan GOP, now at a crossroads, faces a significant challenge in navigating these internal disputes while preparing for the 2024 elections. With Trump’s endorsement of Hoekstra, the party’s direction seems to lean towards a new leadership, yet Karamo’s resistance signals ongoing turbulence within the ranks.