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Kristina Karamo wins Michigan Republican Party Chair

Kristina Karamo speaking into a microphone at an event
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Kristina Karamo lost the 2022 Secretary of State race to incumbent Jocelyn Benson.

Grassroots candidate Kristina Karamo beat a crowded field to become the next Michigan Republican Party chair Saturday.

Karamo rose to prominence as part of the so-called “Stop the Steal” movement denying the results of the 2020 presidential election despite numerous audits confirming the outcome.

Last year, she unsuccessfully ran for Secretary of State as someone critical of party establishment.

She kept up that message Saturday while making her case for chair.

“We act like a private social club. We don’t care that our children will face the consequences of the decisions that we make and it is selfish,” Karamo told state party convention delegates.

Some at the convention worried whether Karamo’s history of election denialism and embracing conspiracy theories would frighten potential donors.

Still, she came out on top during each of three rounds of voting that took place across nearly six hours.

State convention delegate Cynthia Burley was celebrating Karamo’s win as she left the convention hall. She sees Karamo as genuine and capable of growing the party.

“One of the reasons why we can’t raise money in general is because we do not trust the MI GOP. Now, when you have somebody at the helm that you trust, you will give money and I think that she can generate that type of support,” Burley said.

Karamo’s success as chair may hinge upon her ability to secure funds for the party and its candidates.

Money was a major issue in the last election cycle where Republican nominees, including Karamo, struggled to compete with Democrats in the fundraising battle. Democrats ended up sweeping every statewide office and taking control of the state Legislature.

State Representative John Roth (R-Traverse City) was among the sitting lawmakers who attended the weekend’s convention as a delegate.

He said he hopes the new chair can rebuild a bridge with traditional party donors.

"I mean you can be frugal about it and maybe do more social media rather than TV or radio, but you’ve got to have the money (to) at least get the message out. That message helps a great deal for us. Just giving us a support of when we’re running for office ourselves. It makes a big deal,” Roth said.

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