Monday, September 25, 2023
HomeNewsKaramo to lead Michigan Republican Party, beating Trump-backed DePerno

Karamo to lead Michigan Republican Party, beating Trump-backed DePerno

By Craig Mauger and Beth LeBlanc | The Detroit News

LANSING, Michigan — Kristina Karamo, who lost her secretary of state by 14 percentage points but refused to concede, will lead Michigan’s Republican Party after an 11-hour convention and three rounds of voting Saturday at the Lansing Center.

Karamo, who is considered a grassroots favorite, defeated former Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno 58% to 42% in the third round of voting. DePerno was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

The Oak Park educator and conservative activist will take the reins months after Michigan’s GOP lost longstanding majorities in the House and Senate in November and lost races to oust the incumbent Democratic governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

Both last two candidates had denied the results of the 2020 election.

During her remarks on Saturday, Karamo said she refused to admit her loss of 615,000 votes to Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson because the election was a “fraudulent process.” She has repeatedly made unsubstantiated and false claims about Michigan’s voting system.

Karamo, DePerno and Lansing’s political adviser, Scott Greenlee, were the top three voters in what was a nine-person race at the start of the convention on Saturday morning in downtown Lansing.

Thousands of Michigan Republican Party delegates attended the convention as they considered who should be the new leader of the state GOP after historic losses in the November 2022 election.

Speaking to the first ballot, Karamo praised her decision last year not to concede a loss to Benson in November for her secretary of state, saying the party’s current leadership was operating like a “political mafia.”

Check Out:  Police pursuit of East Bay man ends in crash in Long Beach, 1 killed and 7 others injured

“We are becoming a political machine that frightens the Democrats,” Karamo told delegates. “We are going to win.”

Before the November election, she unsuccessfully sued, asking a judge to require residents of Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, to vote in person or receive their ballots in person at the clerk’s office.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying her claims were “baseless” or misinterpreted Michigan electoral law.

On December 18, Karamo released a vision for the party that included converting “‘GOP-phobic youth’ by switching schools from indoctrination to education,” “giving district delegates control of the party,” and giving elected officials from holding the GOP “accountable for the party’s use”. Constitution as their yardstick for governing.”

“Anyone who fails to treat systematic election corruption in accordance with the state and national threat it is should be disqualified from any position in party leadership,” Karamo’s plan said.

The convention lasted about 11 hours, with delegates battling over how votes would be counted at the event and at the last minute among the 10 candidates for the party presidency.

The presidential race ahead of the second ballot focused on Kalamazoo’s DePerno, who is backed by Trump, Karamo, who has support from the party’s grassroots wings, and Greenlee, who would be a more traditional pick for the job.

The party’s current chairman, Ron Weiser, decided not to seek another term.

Some Republicans expressed frustration and uncertainty about the party’s course on Saturday.

Northville’s Matthew Wilk said Republicans can’t rely on the state party to do things the state GOP used to do.

“I think the party is recreating itself locally. I think we’re going to focus on local issues,” Wilk said. “I think we are going to do local infrastructure and go back to basics, blocking and tackling winning elections.

Check Out:  Public comments by Pac-12 officials shed light on media rights process

On Saturday morning, Macomb County Republican Chairman Mark Forton dropped out of the state seat race, leaving nine remaining candidates. Forton supported Karamo before the first round of voting. Forton said his decision was to ensure a “grassroots-type” hopeful had a shot at winning.

“I do believe she will get the most votes on the first ballot,” Forton said in an interview on Karamo’s convention floor.

To win the chair position, a candidate must receive more than 50% support. Throughout the rounds, the candidates with the least support are forced out for a total of three rounds.

DePerno and Karamo were considered the favorites because they have been working with deputies for more than a year, as it was the deputies who nominated them for attorney general and secretary of state last year.

DePerno lost to Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel by 9 percentage points in November.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer also won another term, with Democrats taking control of the legislature for the first time in 40 years.

A lawyer by profession, DePerno rose to political prominence for challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election and filing a lawsuit over the vote in northern Michigan’s Antrim County. He and Karamo have made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud in the presidential election.

In August, Nessel sought a special prosecutor to consider charges against DePerno and eight others on an alleged conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to voting machines. The special prosecutor, DJ Hilson, has not yet announced a decision.

Trump, who is campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, endorsed DePerno as party chairman in January. Other Republican activists have also lined up behind DePerno, citing his aggressive approach.

Check Out:  Two people displaced after house fire in Union City

“I’ve always supported Matt DePerno,” State Representative Angela Rigas, a Republican, said as she entered the convention Saturday.

Rigas described DePerno as the person who can unite the party.

But some Republicans were concerned about DePerno’s record. Conservative attorney David Kallman, whose office is based in Lansing, said DePerno has done things he disagrees with. Kallman declined to detail the problems.

Kallman said he hopes Greenlee gets angry.

“I think he would be the best at trying to unite everyone,” Kallman said.

Greenlee, who has worked in politics for more than three decades, appeared to be getting some support on Saturday. Greenlee said Republicans responded to his message to activate and engage the delegates.

“The secret to a good campaign is to peak at the right time,” said Greenlee. “We tried to map out our strategy that way. And I think we are peaking.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments