R.N.C. Says It Looks Like Michigan G.O.P. Leader Was ‘Properly Removed’ - The World News

R.N.C. Says It Looks Like Michigan G.O.P. Leader Was ‘Properly Removed’

Lawyers for the Republican National Committee say it looks like Kristina Karamo was “properly removed” as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party earlier this month, but Ms. Karamo and her newly-elected replacement both maintain that they are in charge.

The power struggle between Ms. Karamo, who has led the state party for almost a year, and Pete Hoekstra, a former House member whom party leaders elected on Saturday to replace Ms. Karamo, is creating chaos for Republicans in a swing state that played a critical role in 2016 and 2020, and will be key state in deciding this year’s election.

In a two-page letter obtained by The New York Times, two top lawyers for the R.N.C. told Ms. Karamo and Mr. Hoekstra on Wednesday that Ms. Karamo’s removal by state committee members on Jan. 6 appeared to follow the state party’s bylaws, but noted that their review of the matter was “initial.” Their findings contradicted Ms. Karamo’s claims that the vote had been illegitimate.

The R.N.C. stopped short of recognizing Mr. Hoekstra, who was ambassador to the Netherlands under former President Donald J. Trump, as the new chairman. If either or both of them show up at the R.N.C.’s upcoming winter meetings in Las Vegas, it said, they would not be credentialed as committee members, but could attend as guests. The letter said that the R.N.C. had limited power to settle state party leadership disputes, but had the authority to determine who can be a voting party member. It said that members of the R.N.C. would further review the dispute and make recommendations after the group’s meeting.

“We’re moving forward,” Mr. Hoekstra said in an interview on Thursday, indicating that he planned to attend the meeting.

And what if Ms. Karamo, whose opponents in the state party’s leadership are suing to have removed, also shows up?

“We will both be in an environment where the R.N.C. has clearly indicated that they no longer see her as the chairwoman,” he said, adding that he and his team had been blocked from accessing the party’s email system and its financial books in recent days.

Ms. Karamo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday, but the Michigan G.O.P.’s general counsel in a statement dismissed the significance of the legal findings from the national party.

“To be clear, lawyers signing a letter does not indicate anything other than their opinion,” the statement said. “Therefore, while the letter is authentic, I do not care because their opinion is irrelevant to any resolution.”

Critics of Ms. Karamo, who ran unsuccessfully for Michigan secretary of state in 2022 and has promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud, have accused her of creating a veil of secrecy as party chairwoman, struggling to raise money and seeking to centralize power.

Mr. Hoekstra said that a majority of state committee members had rightly intervened, recognizing what he described as an “unacceptable” situation amid heightened political stakes.

“We can win this state for Donald Trump,” he said. “We’ve done it once before.”

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