The election of Kristina Karamo as the new head of the Michigan Republican Party confirms the GOP’s commitment to believing that losing is a “winning” strategy.
“We cannot wait to get work done as one Michigan Republican Party,” Ms. Karamo said after besting her opponent – and fellow Election denier – Matthew DePerno in Saturday’s election.
The former community college professor beat out nine right-wing candidates after three rounds, to secure the coveted position.
Both Karamo and DePerno have been vocal in their support of Donald Trump, which some conservatives feel alienated the moderate wing of the party by overestimating the political currency of the Big Lie in a key battleground state.
Karamo and DePerno lost their races for Secretary of State and Attorney General by 14 and eight points, respectively.
Former Congressman Peter Meijer (R-MI) — who lost his reelection bid in what some believe was in retaliation for the midwest conservative’s vote in favor of impeaching then-President Trump after the violent attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 — condemned the trajectory the GOP is currently on.
“In our state, this civil war is benefiting no one but the Democrats,” Rep. Meijer said.
“Part of what the Republican Party in the state of Michigan needs to get back to is being a broad tent.”
Both Ms. Karamo and Mr. DePerno criticized the previous leadership for prioritizing big-money establishment donors over grassroots voters — failing to acknowledge their role in alienating the GOP’s Michigan base which has overwhelmingly rejected the party’s conspiracy theory-pushing fringe.
Former co-chair, Meshawn Maddock, credited an exodus by longtime Republican donors for contributing to Democrats securing a legislative trifecta for the first time in four decades after flipping the legislature Blue.
“Big donors would rather ‘lose the whole state’ than help the party’s candidates because they ‘hate’ Mr. Trump,” Maddock said.
“Donors have said, ‘we’re not buying the crazies that you’re selling,'” said senior adviser for The Lincoln Project and former executive director of the Michigan GOP, Jeff Timmer.
Former Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) was equally dismissive of the MAGA Republican strategy.
“Sadly, it looks like they want an encore,” the former congressman said.
“We lost the entire statehouse for the first time in 40 years, in large part, because of the top of the ticket. All deniers. It turned off a lot of voters. As I look at the state convention, it looks like it could well be more of the same,” Upton added.
Upton, who along with Meijer voted in favor of the impeachment of Donald Trump, was previously rumored to be a candidate for Speaker of the House supported by both sides of the aisle — sending the ex-President on an unsurprising social medial tirade criticizing the longtime conservative as a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only).
Though fighting an uphill battle against the Trump-backed DePerno, Karamo managed to secure a majority of the 2000 delegates’ votes to win the leadership role, which is credited to her refusal to concede defeat in the race for Secretary of State.
Ms. Karamo mounted her campaign on the back of Trump’s stolen election lies — and was overwhelmingly defeated by Michigan voters.
But apparently, the Republican Party is all in on backing losers to win.
Original reporting by Neil Vigdor at The New York Times.
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