LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan State Republican Convention played out like many recent GOP events have, with conflicts and challenges and ultimately, an outcome that may result in the unification so many talked about headed in to the event.
The purpose of the convention is multifaceted — to regroup, find a new chairman and to come together as a party after three less-than-stellar election cycles.
For the delegates, last night’s district meetings gave them a chance to get a better idea about who the next chairman of the party should be.
The new chair will face a daunting task of bringing together new grassroots members of the GOP that distrust the establishment while bringing establishment Republicans and the donor base they represent back into the fold after they largely sat out in 2022.
Of course, no convention is complete without those candidates running in the next cycle. This time around, the big prize in 2024 will be an open U.S. Senate seat.
There are no shortage of GOP hopefuls when it comes to that race.
Former candidate for Governor Kevin Rinke is considering a run, saying,
“I will be out in Washington, D.C having discussions and it’s a great opportunity. Spence Abraham, when he was senator, did a great job for Michigan and, candidly, I think we’ve seen a decline.”
State Board of Education member Nikki Snyder is in. When asked why she is running, she said, “I would say conversations are changing, quite a few of them especially in healthcare, education, raising taxes. Conversations are actually changing and I’m qualified to have them.”
A number of current and former members of Congress are also said to be considering a run. They will have plenty of company with Democrats when that race gets underway.
But the real question at this convention is who will lead the party. Of what appeared to be the three main contenders to be chairman, there were two newcomers in Matt DePerno, the GOP candidate for Attorney General in 2022, and Kristina Karamo, who emerged as the Secretary of State candidate for the Republicans just last year. Both lost their elections in November.
Scott Greenlee has been involved in Republican politics since the Engler years and is considered the more “establishment” candidate.
Amid rules, challenges and much conjecture, the convention dragged on with some discontent and through three ballots for chair, with the eventual winner being Kristina Karamo, who even in her nominating speech was still claiming fraud in the 2022 election.
“You may not always like me but you know I’ll keep my word. That’s what we need as chair and co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party. We should fight to secure our elections, it’s the reason I did not concede the 2022 election. Why would I concede to a fraudulent process? Conceding to a fraudulent process is an agreement with the frauds, which I will not do,” she said.
The question now is, is this new chairman the person who can unite and attract the more traditional voter? Maybe more important is whether that person can attract donors and win elections. Her first big test will be getting the party on sound financial ground.