Ousted Michigan GOP Chair Has to Stop Pretending She’s Still in Charge: Judge

Sarah Rice for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Sarah Rice for The Washington Post via Getty Images

A Michigan court on Tuesday affirmed the unseating of Kristina Karamo as the state’s Republican Party chair, barring her from continuing to identify as its leader, access its bank accounts or postal boxes, or make any further attempts to cling to the last vestiges of power.

The preliminary injunction by Kent County Circuit Judge J. Joseph Rossi comes just weeks after the Republican National Committee recognized former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra as the state party’s rightful chair after its members voted to oust Karamo and elect him in her stead.

Though the ruling, backdated by Rossi to Jan. 6, when Karamo was drummed out, nominally settles the leadership question, the knives-out battle may not yet be quite over. Still to come on Saturday is the state party convention, which promises to be a Veep subplot for the ages should Karamo follow through on an earlier threat to hold a rival convention at the same time.

It was unclear on Tuesday night whether Karamo’s plan was still in place. She said she would comply with Rossi’s order, according to the Detroit Free Press, but slammed it as “egregious” and demurred when asked if her convention would go forward. “We will not let this go,” she warned, The Detroit News reported. “Our delegates will not let this go.”

Karamo, a far-right demagogue with an election-denying streak, was overthrown by state party insiders in a 40-5 vote on Jan. 6. Her aggrieved opponents mainly took issue with her financial management style and the debts that mounted under her watch, with Raw Story reporting in January that the state party repeatedly defaulted on loan payments last year. Their qualms only took deeper hold, however, as Karamo framed their criticism as a plot against her and made it clear she would not be leaving without a fight.

Rossi’s ruling was issued hours before the polls closed in the state’s presidential primary, ending in former President Donald Trump’s decisive victory. While the primary determines who wins 16 of Michigan’s 55 delegates, the weekend’s convention will see the lion’s share awarded to the state party’s preferred candidate.

Hoekstra previously announced a March 2 convention in Grand Rapids, while Karamo said hers will be held in Detroit. Both are Trump loyalists, but the former president has thrown his lot in with Hoekstra, his former ambassador to the Netherlands.

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