GOP shows new signs of unraveling in key battleground state

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Michigan has long been one of the nation’s most closely watched battleground states, and in 2024, it will again be home to a variety of competitive contests, up and down the ballot. Republicans at the national level are no doubt counting on GOP officials at the state level to have their act together as the election cycle takes shape.

It was against this backdrop that a group of Michigan Republicans voted on Saturday to remove Kristina Karamo as state party chairperson. Reuters reported:

At a special meeting called by critics of Karamo, nearly all of the state committee members present voted to remove her from her post, according to Bree Moeggenberg, a state committee member who helped organize the meeting in Commerce Township. “We have voted to remove Kristina Karamo as the Chair of the Michigan Republican Party. It is now time to collaborate and grow forward,” Moeggenberg said in a statement.

In theory, the outcome of Saturday’s vote created a vacancy at the top of the state GOP. In practice, Karamo said she doesn’t consider Saturday’s vote to be legitimate, and as such, she still believes she’s the chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

Messy litigation now appears inevitable.

For those who might benefit from a refresher, in the 2022 elections, Karamo ran for Michigan secretary of state campaign as a notorious election denier. She was also known for sharing concerns about “demonic possession” — which the Republican said can spread from person to person through intimate relationships — spreading Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, rejecting vaccines, condemning evolutionary biology, and suggesting that cohabitation before marriage opens the door to normalizing pedophilia.

She lost by 14 points.

At Donald Trump’s urging, Michigan Republicans nevertheless chose Karamo to lead the state party. That hasn’t turned out especially well: The Michigan GOP spent 2023 struggling badly to raise money, and party insiders deemed insufficiently right-wing were reportedly pushed out by the state party’s far-right leadership.

Complicating matters, there were a couple of incidents involving physical altercations at Michigan Republican Party events in 2023, reinforcing impressions that the state GOP was effectively at war with itself.

A couple of weeks ago, a New York Times report explained, “Veterans of Republican politics say that state parties play vital roles in winning elections, acting as a clearinghouse for distributing large donations from national groups unfamiliar with local terrain and offering discounts on expensive campaign costs like mail. They help identify potential candidates and winnable races. They are a font of the kinds of activists and volunteers critical to powering statewide campaigns. And they raise money. All of that is at risk in places like Michigan.”

Democrats in the Wolverine State have reason to be pleased.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

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