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Ousted Michigan GOP chair Kristina Karamo loses key ruling at appeals court

FILE - Former President Donald Trump listens as Michigan Republican Secretary of State candidate Kristina Karamo speaks during a rally in Warren, Mich., Oct. 1, 2022.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.

DETROIT (AP) — The ousted former leader of the Michigan Republican Party lost a key court ruling Thursday in her effort to regain the top post.

The Michigan Court of Appeals said it won’t suspend a lower court’s order affirming Kristina Karamo’s removal by party members.

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Karamo was hoping that a stay would clear the way for her to lead a meeting Saturday in Detroit to select presidential delegates for the party’s national convention.

Former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, with backing from the national party and former President Donald Trump, is recognized as the new chair of the state Republican Party. He is scheduled to lead a similar meeting across the state in Grand Rapids.

Karamo has refused to concede that party members properly voted her out of office. But a Kent County judge on Tuesday said the Jan. 6 vote was valid and any actions by her since that date were “void and have no effect.”

“The order has injected more chaos into the political process,” Karamo’s lawyers told the appeals court. “The order will require a complete change of party administration, as well as cancellation or attempted cancellations of leases, contracts and other legal obligations, leaving the (party) in further disarray.”

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Hoekstra, however, said he is seen as the “duly elected chair of the Michigan party.”

“It’s time to put this behind us and move forward with the business of electing Republicans in November,” he said Thursday.

Trump easily won Michigan’s Republican primary this week over Nikki Haley.

Karamo was voted out of leadership after months of internal fighting over finances and strategy. She was a Trump supporter and unsuccessful Republican candidate for secretary of state when she won the top party post in 2023.

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“This is an intra-party dispute that should be resolved through the political process — not court intervention,” Karamo’s lawyers said.


Earlier version

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals is being urged to step into a dispute over leadership of the state Republican Party.

Lawyers for Kristina Karamo asked the court Wednesday to throw out a decision by a Kent County judge, who said a January vote to oust her was valid.

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Judge Joseph Rossi said Tuesday that any actions by Karamo since Jan. 6 are “void and have no effect.”

“The order has injected more chaos into the political process,” Karamo’s lawyers said of Rossi’s injunction. “The order will require a complete change of party administration, as well as cancellation or attempted cancellations of leases, contracts and other legal obligations, leaving the (party) in further disarray.”

Karamo wants the appeals court to make a ruling by Friday, a day before she had planned to hold a major meeting in Detroit to select presidential delegates for the party’s national convention.

But former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, with backing from the national party and former President Donald Trump, now is recognized as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. He is scheduled to lead a similar meeting Saturday across the state in Grand Rapids.

An email seeking comment from the party on the latest legal action was not immediately answered Thursday.

Trump easily won Michigan’s Republican primary this week over Nikki Haley.

Karamo was voted out of leadership after months of internal fighting over finances and strategy. She had been a Trump supporter and unsuccessful Republican candidate for secretary of state when she won the top party post in 2023.

“This is an intra-party dispute that should be resolved through the political process — not court intervention,” Karamo’s lawyers said.

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