Trump Takes Command Over Michigan’s Broke Republican Party

Former President Donald Trump and national Republican leaders recently decided to remove Michigan GOP Chairwoman Kristina Karamo from her post and replace her with former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI). The state party chairwoman has refused to step down, throwing the Michigan Grand Old Party into chaos over the power struggle on top of its broken finances.

“We need to build the brand back, with our grassroots and our donor class,” Hoekstra said. “My intention is to rebuild those relationships.”

According to a recent story in the Washington Times, the Michigan Republican Party was already piled with debt when a yearslong donor who had given over $1 million in a decade asked to meet with Karamo. The chairwoman turned the megadonor away and reportedly insulted him, calling the man a “RINO,” short for “Republican In Name Only.”

In 2024, with the four-year presidential election cycle in full swing, the Michigan GOP’s finances are in such bad shape that Karamo has sued recent party leaders to get a judge’s permission to sell the party’s headquarters. She is managing that while fighting off the national GOP — led by Donald Trump — campaigning to remove her from her position to start fresh with Hoekstra.

The Wolverine State is a center of rugged midwest industrial conservatism and outdoor conservative values, but also a blue-state bastion of union Democrat progressivism and urban, black, and minority socialist Democrats. The state’s big labor mindset toward finances may have spread to the Republican Party there, but Trump Republicans are ready to take the reins.

Most analysts, commentators, and politicians expect Trump to win the Republican primary in Michigan on Tuesday. But his campaign is working to boost Republican turnout in a swing state that could make the difference between Trump and President Joe Biden in the rematch shaping up for November.

Steve Willis, chair of the Clinton County GOP in Michigan near Lansing, criticized Trump for getting involved in state politics from so far away, going off briefings from advisors, “I don’t think he should be involved in state politics to begin with. He’s just listening to people that have his ear and he makes a decision.”

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