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National Republican Party officially recognizes Hoekstra as chair of state GOP

Pete Hoekstra (file photo)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Public
Pete Hoekstra (file photo)

Pete Hoekstra, the former Michigan congressman and U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, is officially in charge of the state Republican Party, according to national party leadership.

The Republican National Committee formally recognized Hoekstra as chair of the Michigan GOP Wednesday amid a bitter internal dispute over who leads the state party. The feud includes a lawsuit scheduled for a hearing next week, and dueling websites each purporting to be the official online home of the party.

Former Chair Kristina Karamo was elected to the position last February. A breakaway faction of the state party voted to oust her on January 6, saying she had tanked the party's finances and fallen short of promises to revive Republican campaign hopes and build the party's ranks.

Karamo said the vote was illegitimate — an "attempted coup" — and did not conform to the party's bylaws. The national party said she was properly removed.

The breakaway faction named Hoekstra as the new chair — a move Karamo also said was illegitimate. And former President Donald Trump — the clear frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination — said he supported Hoekstra as chair.

On Wednesday, after the national party confirmed his position as the state party leader, Hoekstra released a statement imploring Karamo to stop fighting him.

"It is time for the former chair who was properly removed in accordance with the MIGOP bylaws to end her misinformation campaign. She should join the fight to re-elect Donald Trump rather than dividing this party," Hoekstra said.

“Both the RNC and our party's presumptive nominee Donald Trump have now come forward and recognized me as the duly elected chair of the Michigan Republican Party," he said. "We must put our nose to the grindstone over the next several months and focus on party unity to secure a red-wave victory in November.”

The Karamo camp issued a defiant statement in reply, saying the RNC's decision "sabotages" the Michigan Republican Party.

"Kristina Karamo will continue serving as the duly elected chairwoman," the statement said.

"Today’s biased ruling further solidifies our position that the RNC has no authority to override the will of the MIGOP precinct delegates and state committee members. Their blatant disregard for the MIGOP bylaws and procedures is a travesty."

Brett joined Michigan Public in December 2021 as an editor.
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