Trump Set to Rally in South Carolina Ahead of GOP Primary: Live Election News

After a bitter monthlong fight in Michigan over who has a valid claim to lead the G.O.P. in the critical battleground state, the Republican National Committee said on Wednesday that it had formally recognized Pete Hoekstra as the state party’s rightful chairman.

The decision follows a vote on Jan. 6 by some party officials in Michigan to remove Kristina Karamo, a far-right election denier who had helmed the party for almost a year.

Mr. Hoekstra was elected to the post later that month and was endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump. But Ms. Karamo refused to accept her removal, kicking off a dispute that has created upheaval for Republicans and spilled over into court just weeks before the party holds its presidential primary and caucus-style convention there.

Critics of Ms. Karamo said that the Michigan party had been shrouded in secrecy under her leadership and was struggling with funds. In choosing Mr. Hoekstra, they elevated a former longtime House member who was Mr. Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

Mr. Hoekstra said in an interview that he hoped that Ms. Karamo would now stand down.

“So you now have the state committee,” he said, when told of the R.N.C.’s decision on Wednesday. “You have the R.N.C., and you have the president, which in many cases would have been enough all by itself. You put that all cumulatively together, it’s like, OK, this decision is made. Let’s move on.”

Ms. Karamo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

In a conference call on Monday, the R.N.C. heard arguments from lawyers for Mr. Hoekstra and Ms. Karamo. In an email that same day, Ms. Karamo challenged the authority of national Republicans to decide the matter.

She described the faction that voted to replace her as an “impostor organization fraudulently claiming to be the Michigan Republican Party.” She said the state party was “prepared to take appropriate steps” to protect the rights of its leaders.

Ms. Karamo has been a lightning rod for the party’s competing factions in the state since Michigan Republicans picked her to run for secretary of state in 2022 — a race she lost by 14 percentage points, but refused to concede.

She promised that she would heal the party and return it to electoral success after two cycles of losses. The state seesawed from Mr. Trump in the 2016 election to Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 election, and in the 2022 midterms, Democrats swept the state’s top offices and flipped the Legislature.

But by last fall, when the state party’s gathering on Mackinac Island showcased its deficits — attendance plummeted, presidential candidates skipped the event, some speakers did not show — mutiny took hold.

Lawyers for the R.N.C. wrote in late January that it looked like Ms. Karamo had been “properly removed” as chairwoman, but stopped short of recognizing Mr. Hoekstra as the chairman in what they described as an initial review.

Both Ms. Karamo and Mr. Hoekstra then showed up to a gathering in Las Vegas of Republican Party bosses from across the nation. Neither got official recognition.

Mr. Hoekstra has since moved forward with planning two fund-raising dinners for the state party in late February before Michigan holds its nominating contests. Ms. Karamo, for her part, has in recent days sent messages from the state party’s email account maintaining that it was business-as-usual for her.

Mr. Trump, the overwhelming Republican front-runner for president, is headed to Michigan on Saturday for a campaign rally.


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