Detroit Today: What the vote to oust Kristina Karamo means for Michigan Republicans

Karamo called the vote to remove her “illegitimate,” arguing that the move was merely performative and had no actual legal standing. 

FILE - Kristina Karamo speaks to Michigan Republican Party delegates on Feb. 18, 2023, in Lansing, Mich.

FILE - Kristina Karamo speaks to Michigan Republican Party delegates on Feb. 18, 2023, in Lansing, Mich.

As we approach the official start of the 2024 election season, Michigan Republicans are facing chaos within their own party as members tried to remove state GOP chair Kristina Karamo over the weekend.

The move comes after Karamo filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Michigan Republican Party last month against a trust that control’s the party’s former Lansing headquarters. The filing was made after a bank warned the party it was in default on a more than $500,000 line of credit, with hopes that the state GOP could regain ownership of the Lansing headquarters in order to sell it to help pay down the debt.

Karamo took office almost a year ago after arguing in favor of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. She called this weekend’s vote to remove her “illegitimate,” telling the Detroit News that the performative move had no legal standing.

Vance Patrick, chairman of the Oakland County Republican Party, joined Detroit Today on Monday along with Dennis Darnoi, founder of Densar Consulting, and Tim Carney, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to discuss the vote’s significance and how the party will move forward.

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Vance Patrick is a chairman of Oakland County Republican Party. He and other state Republicans have been working to remove Kristina Karamo as chair of the state party. While he believes the vote to remove Karamo as party chair was legitimate, he says it will be up to the Republican National Committee to recognize the ouster.

“The RNC, it’s up to them to recognize that this was a legitimate removal of the chair,” said Patrick.

Dennis Darnoi is a founder of Densar Consulting, which is a local political consulting firm that tracks voter data. He says the Republican party needed to make this move ahead of the 2024 elections.

“It was a necessary move,” said Darnoi. “The party was not raising money, the party was in debt, the party was struggling to figure out which direction it wanted to go in.”

Tim Carney is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a center-right think tank in Washington, D.C. He says local officials have not been successful trying to replicate Donald Trump’s political tactics outside their own party.

“If you are a Republican who’s trying to follow the Trump playbook — Kari Lake in Arizona was a perfect example — it hasn’t worked out for you beyond possibly getting the Republican nomination,” said Carney. “The fact that these ‘mini-Trumps’ are getting the Republican nomination, getting the Republican Party chairmanships, means that the party is largely getting taken over by people who are running this failed experiment.”

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