Editor’s note: This is a guest column by Rob Pettrey, a Monroe County executive committee member and party officer.

As a Precinct Delegate and local party official, I have been following the Michigan Republican Party (MIGOP) leadership battle with great interest. If you haven’t heard, Kristina Karamo became the MiGOP party chair in 2023, and was ousted by her critics in 2024. (Unless you are one of her supporters, in which case the process was illegal, and she is still the head of the party.)

The current bone of contention seems to be how she was removed.

One side says they followed every rule to the letter for removal. The other side quotes Bible verses at them, tells them they despise the Scriptures, and calls Kristina “anointed by God”. Sounds like a showdown at OK Corral, or more accurately, the Temple, where the Pharisees quote the Law, and the disciples protect their Anointed One.

But there’s a problem with that analogy. Those who are Anointed by God do provable things, like walk on water, or raise people from the dead. What concrete things has Kristina accomplished to earn the title?

Or maybe a better question: why are people asking for her removal?

Let’s set aside the religious overtones for a moment and talk about performance.

In particular, Kristina’s performance:

Promises. Kristina promised bold leadership, transparency, fiscal responsibility, trust, conservative values and small donor fundraising. How has she done?

Finances. The party was in great shape when handed over by the generous former Chair. Her tenure started with a personal donation of $1.9 million from Ron Weiser, a $460,000 line of credit with Comerica and $330,000 in the bank. Currently the Party is over $600,000 in debt and is in danger of default.

Fundraising. Her plan to contact 500,000 small businesses in Michigan projected 2023 donations of over $14 million, over 20 times the current debt. She said she would raise $50 million by the 2024 election. You need a dedicated team of hundreds of people dialing for those kinds of dollars. What happened? Where is the team? Where is the result?

Personnel. Why have a slew of people in positions of leadership left her organization, all in less than a year (And all for the same reason: they dared to ask questions)? And why do the ones who remain have such shady histories?

Transparency. Why has no one seen a budget? Why are people fired who ask questions? Why did the mastermind of her Chair campaign have to be outed as someone who is more than “just a friend” and who “won’t have a role in the party?” What are we hiding, Kristina?

Headquarters. Trying to sell a building you don’t own, and then doubling down and taking the owners to court over it, is astoundingly stupid, and makes all of us look stupid.

Mackinac. When you are over half a million dollars in debt, you don’t pay someone over a hundred thousand dollars (donated? loaned? by the MIGOP Executive Director’s wife!) to speak for 25 minutes. And, without informing, or the approval of, the Finance Committee.

Leadership. She had a lot of good ideas, made a lot of promises, and did not execute. A leader knows how to lead. It should be obvious by now: she has no leadership skills. None.

Conceding. We wouldn’t be having this discussion if it weren’t for Kristina refusing to step down. Even when a solid majority of state districts (and by extension, a solid majority of Executive Committee members and Precinct Delegates across the state) have asked for it.

Kristina and her supporters have made this a righteous crusade.

Righteous people simply do righteous things. Like, tell the truth. Keep their promises. Live transparently. Be responsible. Build trust. And when they fail, they honestly own up to it. They apologize. They turn around. When they are asked to step down, by a majority of the state, with objective evidence of demonstrable failure, they step down. When voted down, they don’t live in denial like nothing has happened and slander their detractors. They don’t whistle past the graveyard on an apology tour, to explain why colossal failure is not failure.

Driving a state-wide political party into the ground is not “Anointed by God” territory.

This is not just good vs. evil.

It’s success vs. failure.

Smart vs. stupid.

Wise vs. foolish.

Responsible vs. reckless.

Transparent vs. opaque.

Reality vs. explanations.

Leadership vs. clueless floundering.

Friends don’t let friends support a failed leader. Demand that your party leaders cut our losses and roll with new leadership.

Kristina Karamo has failed us as a leader. Own it. Demand her removal. Move on.

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