HomeUS News updateElection conspiracist to lead Michigan GOP through 2024

Election conspiracist to lead Michigan GOP through 2024

LANSING, Michigan – Cristina Karamo, the election conspirator who suffered a crushing defeat in her bid to become Michigan’s secretary of state, was chosen Saturday to lead the state’s Republican Party for the next two years.

Karamo defeated a 10-candidate field dominated by far-right candidates to win the position of chair of the Michigan GOP after a state convention that lasted nearly 11 hours. A former community college professor, he lost the race for secretary of state by 14 percentage points in the 2022 midterms after mounting a campaign riddled with election intrigue.

Karamo inherited a state party torn apart by internal strife and millions in debt. Will be tasked with winning back control of the Legislature and flipping one of the nation’s most competitive Senate seats, while attempting to help the presidential candidate win a battleground state.

Addressing delegates before the vote, Karamo said that “our party is dying” and needed to be rebuilt into “a political machine that strikes fear into the hearts of Democrats”.

Karamo rose to prominence after the 2020 presidential election when he began appearing on conservative talk shows saying that as an election challenger in Detroit, he saw “ballots dropped off in the middle of the night, among them Thousands.”

The decision to pick Karamo, who will lead through the 2024 elections, strengthens the hold it has on the state party after suffering a sweeping election defeat to Michigan Republicans last year.

A three-round vote was held at the convention in Lansing for locally elected delegates to choose Karamo over former attorney general candidate Matthew DeParno, who was endorsed by Trump in the race.

With a field dominated by grassroots activist candidates with far-right messages, many longtime Michigan Republicans had already abandoned a state party ahead of Saturday’s vote.

“We lost the entire statehouse for the first time in 40 years, in large part because of the top of the ticket. All the denialists. It turned a lot of voters,” former longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said last week. “As I look at the state convention, it looks like it could be even more.”

“It may take a cycle or two for the party to right itself and climb out of the ditch,” Upton told The Associated Press.

The state party was previously led by U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and current National Republican Party Chair Rona McDaniel. The party built a large volunteer base of grassroots activists, while also raising “$30 to $35 million per cycle,” said former party chairman Bobby Shostak.

During Shostak’s time as Speaker from 2011 to 2015, Republicans retained control of the Legislature and Rick Snyder, a Republican, was re-elected as governor. Trump won the state in the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats now control all levels of power in the state for the first time since the 1980s. They won control of both houses of the Legislature and defeated Republicans by significant margins in the 2022 midterms for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Longtime donors have withheld millions in donations as the Republican Party loyal to Trump has nominated its chosen candidates, DePerno and Karamo. Tudor Dixon, who lost his race for governor to Whitmer, said his campaign was hurt by the state party not having as much money as before.

“I would love to say it’s a movement of just going and knocking on doors. But you’ve got to be able to put money behind it,” Dixon said.

After the midterms, Michigan GOP chairman Ron Weiser and co-chairman Meshon Maddock said they would not seek re-election.

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, Shostak, now a major donor in the state, said the next leader would need to prove “that he has the ability to be a good steward of donor money.”

If donors once again decide not to give in large numbers to the state party, they will have to find other ways to help candidates ahead of the 2024 presidential election, including Republicans flipping the state House and US Senate seats. Will try to win. For the first time in over two decades.

State House Republican Floor Leader Brian Posthumus said, “The state party is a little weak, and they’re not going to make an impact in the first race.” “That being said, there are many other avenues to pick up that slack and ensure that we are still effective with or without the party.”



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