Judge affirms ouster of Michigan Republican Party leader Karamo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Kristina Karamo was properly removed as chair of the Michigan Republican Party, a judge said Tuesday, the same day that voters participated in the state's presidential primary.

The decision against Karamo came after months of internal fighting over the financial health of the state GOP in the battleground state. Members of the state party organized a vote on Jan. 6 to oust her as leader.

Kent County Judge Joseph Rossi said the result was valid.

“Any actions of Ms. Karamo since Jan. 6, 2024, purporting to be taken on behalf of the Michigan Republican state committee are void and have no effect,” Rossi said.

The national Republican Party had also declared that Karamo was properly removed and that former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra was the new chair. Former President Donald Trump backed Hoekstra.

“It is time to unite and move forward with the business delivering the state of Michigan for our party’s presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump,” Hoekstra said after Rossi granted an injunction sought by Karamo's critics.

Karamo told reporters in Grand Rapids that the judge's decision was “grossly unfair.”

She had been refusing to accept efforts to remove her and had planned to hold a convention to select presidential delegates Saturday.

A group of Republicans sued her, seeking a definitive ruling about whether she had been lawfully removed. The plaintiffs included Karamo's former co-chair, Malinda Pego and other former allies.

Opponents called for her resignation following a year plagued by debt and infighting. Karamo was a unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state before being tapped to lead the party.

Nearly 89% of those present on Jan. 6 voted to oust Karamo, according to Bree Moeggenberg, a party member in attendance. Roughly 110 precinct delegates had the power to remove the chair but only 45 people, not including proxies, had attended the meeting.

Rossi, however, said there were sufficient votes.

The civil war within the state party has had little impact on the presidential contest so far, with Trump maintaining his frontrunner status over Nikki Haley.

The Associated Press