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Court rejects Karamo bid to run Michigan GOP presidential caucuses

Kristina Karamo
Kristina Karamo appealed a court order that prohibits her from acting as Michigan GOP chair but was quickly rejected. (Bridge file photo)
  • Kristina Karamo appealed an order prohibiting her from acting as Michigan Republican Party chair but a court quickly rejected the attempt
  • Karamo had asked for a fast ruling ahead of a Saturday presidential caucus convention 
  • New Chair Pete Hoekstra plans to hold the convention in Grand Rapids, but Karamo had been planning a gathering in Detroit

LANSING – The Michigan Court of Appeals on Thursday quickly rejected an attempt by Kristina Karamo to retake control of the state Republican Party ahead of a weekend presidential caucus convention. 

Karamo had asked the appeals court to suspend a recent order that prohibits her from claiming she still chairs the Michigan GOP after a faction of the party’s state committee voted to oust her from the post on Jan. 6.


The emergency appeal came just two days before new chair Pete Hoekstra plans to host congressional district caucus meetings in Grand Rapids to award most of the state party’s presidential delegates to a national nominating convention. 


Karamo had previously called a presidential caucus convention of her own for Detroit on Saturday. But Tuesday’s order from Kent County Judge J. Joseph Rossi “voided” her notice for that gathering, her attorneys acknowledged in a request for immediate consideration of her appeal. 

“The order has injected more chaos into the political process” because Ottawa County only submitted delegate credentials to Karamo – not Hoekstra, so may not be able to participate in the Grand Rapids convention, Karamo’s attorneys, Donald Campbell and Kellie Howard, wrote in the appeal.  

The order, which nullified any actions Karamo took since Jan. 6, “will require a complete change of party administration, as well as cancellation or attempted cancellations of leases, contracts, and other legal obligations, leaving the committee in further disarray,” they wrote in Thursday’s appeal. 

The Michigan Court of Appeals did not appear swayed, however. Within an hour of Karamo’s filing, presiding Judge Brock Swartzle issued a brief order denying her request for a “stay” of the lower court ruling. 

Attorney Jonathan Lauderbach, who represents plaintiffs in the underlying lawsuit, argued Karamo's request would create more “confusion.”

“We would encourage her to do the right thing by listening to the will of the party and stopping any further charades so the Michigan Republican Party can focus its efforts on November,” Lauderbach said in an email, noting the national party has already recognized Hoekstra as the state GOP chair.

Hoekstra echoed those comments in a statement, noting that former President Donald Trump the Republican National Committee and now courts have "come to the unanimous conclusion that I am the duly elected Chair of the Michigan Party."

Karamo has long argued the Jan. 6 meeting to remove her was illegitimate. She organized a separate meeting a week later where another faction of state committee members voted to keep her on as chair. 

But Rossi, the Kent County judge, ruled Tuesday that Karamo was properly removed from her post. His order prohibited her from accessing party bank accounts, mailboxes and social media feeds, among other things. 

Karamo called the order "absolutely ridiculous" but said Tuesday she would comply. "I'm not going to jail,” she said at the time. 


Her appeal, filed Thursday, argued the preliminary injunction Rossi issued was “fatally flawed” because it granted the “the full relief” plaintiffs had sought without a full trial. 

Saturday’s presidential caucus convention, which Hoekstra plans to hold in Grand Rapids, will occur just days after former President Donald Trump handily won the Michigan GOP primary

The convention will be more important to the national nominating process than the primary, however. There, congressional district meetings will decide 39 of the state’s 55 delegates to the Republican National Convention in July. 

The Karamo administration developed the hybrid plan to avoid a delegate penalty after Michigan’s Democratic-led Legislature moved up the primary election – from early March to late February – in violation of RNC rules.

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