Kristina Karamo Malinda Pego
Kristina Karamo speaks at MI state GOP convention with co-chair Malinda Pego

Editor’s Note: This article, written by Scott McMahan, was initially published in the Lapeer County Tribune on Jan. 10, 2024

COMMERCE, MI – The Michigan Republican Party (MIGOP) executive committee met on Jan. 6 and performed all the steps defined by the GOP bylaws to remove Kristina Karamo as state chair. They appointed co-chair Malinda Pego as interim chair. Karamo claims the meeting was “illegitimate” and “illegal” and continues to represent herself as the only official chair.

As Karamo and her team appear to be gearing up for a battle in the courts, one executive committee member who spoke with the Tribune on condition of anonymity indicated that Pego is likely to appeal to the Republican National Convention (RNC) to officially recognize Pego as the interim party chair. An article published by yesterday confirmed this.

Pego’s group insists that the process followed by the executive committee was in accordance with MIGOP bylaws. Karamo’s camp released a report delving into technicalities, like the definition of “calling a meeting” and time periods involved that they claim are violations of the bylaws that invalidate the Jan. 6 meeting.

On December 16, Karamo scheduled a meeting for this coming Jan. 13. She claims this is the only valid meeting on the topic of her removal from office. Pego claims to have officially canceled this Jan. 13 meeting.

Pego sent an email to all precinct delegates yesterday, obtained by the Tribune, where she wrote, “The bylaws, however, are very clear and no longer is Kristina Karamo nor her leadership team in charge of the MIGOP. It is with this I have officially canceled the January 13th meeting, as it is not an official meeting, and any such meeting will not be able to conduct official business,” Pego continued in the email.

Karamo sent an email to every precinct delegate in the state on Jan. 7 after she was ousted. The Tribune obtained a copy of that email, where she repeatedly called her opponents “conspirators,” referred frequently to her election as a grassroots victory and called her opponents’ actions “illegitimate,” “unlawful” and “illegal.”

As she has often done in recent weeks and months, Karamo engaged in name calling when she wrote in the email, “The Grassroots spoke as to who they wanted their chair to be the counterfeit- conservatives who are co-conspirators with Democrats will do anything, including breaking the law, to get their power back (sic).”

She concluded with an apparent threat towards those who voted against her when she wrote, “Not only is their conduct unlawful, but swift and appropriate action will be taken.”

Many of her most vocal critics, including Warren Carpenter, Dawn Beattie, Mark Fortin and many others, previously supported Karamo, a former community college teacher with no business management or executive experience, but sought to remove her after months of allegations of financial mismanagement, rejection of multiple large donations, divisive leadership, legal troubles and poor communication within the party.

Her response has consistently been to attack her opponents. She told Mlive, “Their job as the uniparty, in my opinion, is to prevent the Republican Party from being successful by sowing chaos and dissent and inefficiency… I refuse to believe these are just some good-hearted, confused people because they resort to lying and deception.”

“Benedict Arnold, Brutus, Judas. The story is a long story throughout history of these individuals who get close, so they can plot and scheme on a person, and when you won’t give in to what they want, they attack, and that’s what we’re witnessing,” Karamo said.

Karamo has further been claiming that Pego has resigned from the party. She said at a public event on Jan. 8, “If the co-chair of the party wants to go around telling everyone, including the media, that she is the chair of the party I will accept that as her resignation.”

Despite all this conflict, Pego and many in leadership within the party are optimistic about 2024. The republican state house and senate committees and many republican candidates have raised substantial sums, as donors have given directly to these committees and to candidates instead of to MIGOP.

In her email to delegates on Jan 9, Pego wrote, “What happened on January 6, 2024? The simple answer: The party moved on to focus on the 2024 elections!”

She went on to outline the plan to elect a new, permanent chair, “A new meeting will be scheduled within the next few weeks to officially call a vote for a new Chairperson. We encourage you all to get involved and we look forward to a new and exciting year that brings renewed hope and a very red legislature.”

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