Michigan Republicans call for meeting to consider removing chairperson Karamo amid fundraising woes
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A group of Michigan Republicans plan to meet Saturday and discuss whether to remove Michigan GOP Chairperson Kristina Karamo following months of infighting among party members ahead of key Senate and presidential contests in the swing state.
It’s unclear whether enough party members will attend for the gathering to be official, and Karamo has made clear that she won’t recognize the vote either way, but the call for the meeting signals a remarkable decline in support for the chairperson among her grassroots supporters.
An election conspiracist who unsuccessfully ran for secretary of state in 2022, Karamo had been overwhelmingly elected in February to lead the state party through the next presidential election.
A lack of fundraising and transparency during Karamo’s tenure has pushed many of her former supporters to seek to oust her. Karamo revealed during an Oct. 19 meeting that the party had nearly $500,000 in debt and opponents have argued that the chairperson has done little to improve the financial situation in recent months.
Eight of the state party’s 13 congressional district chairs called on Karamo to resign last week and her own co-chair, Malinda Pego, signed onto a petition seeking a removal vote.
Party members formally began pursuing Karamo’s removal in early December, obtaining 39 state committee members’ signatures on a petition calling for a special meeting to consider it. In response, Karamo said that she wouldn’t honor the request — saying that it was incorrectly submitted — but would schedule a separate special meeting in early January.
The situation could potentially play out in court if Karamo refuses to recognize Saturday’s meeting and a vote to remove her.
Karamo’s opponents have said that her failure to recognize their earlier petition calling for a vote gives them power to schedule their own special meeting. The approval of 75% of the state committee members in attendance at Saturday’s meeting would be needed to oust Karamo, according to party bylaws.
A majority of the party’s close to 100 state committee members would need to be in attendance. Bree Moeggenberg, a Michigan GOP state committee member who has helped organize the meeting, would not reveal the expected attendance numbers but said they “hope to have a quorum.”
“We are currently in a position where we are pushing Republicans away from the party,” Moeggenberg said Tuesday. “When the chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party tells those that don’t agree with her that they can go pound sand, the party’s losing voters.”
The meeting’s agenda, obtained by The Associated Press, also proposes considering removal of the state party’s general counsel and other leaders.
Karamo did not respond to a request for comment sent by email Tuesday. She said during a podcast episode posted to the Michigan GOP’s website Friday that a resignation is “not going to happen” and that her opponents are making “false accusations and half truths.”
The decision could have enormous implications for a party that’s trying to bounce back from a midterm election in 2022 that saw Michigan Democrats sweep every statewide race and gain control of all levels of state government for the first time in 40 years.
Republicans are hoping to win an open U.S. Senate seat next year in addition to multiple competitive House races. Control of the Michigan House, which is currently deadlocked at 54-54 after two seats were vacated by Democrats, will also be up for grabs in 2024.
The party is also hoping to flip Michigan red in next year’s presidential election. Donald Trump won Michigan in 2016 before now-President Joe Biden won it in 2020.
Michigan’s GOP presidential primary on Feb. 27 will award 16 of the state’s 55 delegates. The remaining 39 delegates will be allocated during a March 2 convention hosted by the state party.
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