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Michigan Republicans vote to oust embattled party leader Kristina Karamo

By Daniel Strauss and Allison Gordon, CNN

(CNN) — Michigan Republicans voted Saturday to oust Kristina Karamo, the embattled chair of the state Republican Party, from her leadership role.

“We have made history today,” Bree Moeggenberg, who is on the Michigan GOP’s state committee, said in a statement to CNN. “With over 88% of the members that were present and voting, we have taken the first step to engage and protect the various voices and liberties of all Republicans … we have voted to remove Kristina Karamo as the Chair of the Michigan Republican Party.”

Karamo slammed her colleagues in response, telling CNN in a statement Saturday evening that “it was an illegitimate meeting.”

“Their performance has no legal standing, I am still chair of the Michigan Republican Party,” Karamo said.

The move to remove Karamo as chair came in a closed-door meeting Saturday in Oakland County, according to the Detroit News. It comes less than a year after Karamo became chair.

Malinda Pego, who previously served as co-chair and will now serve as acting chair of the Michigan GOP, defended Saturday’s vote in a statement shared with CNN.

“Petitions with the required signatures requesting the meeting and vote to remove former Chairwoman Kristina Karamo and former General Counsel were submitted accordingly and pursuant to the Michigan Republican State Committee Bylaws before the vote was taken and passed with over the needed 75% threshold,” Pego said, adding the party “remains steadfast in its commitment to operate with the highest integrity and ethics.”

Since Karamo’s ascension, the Michigan GOP has been plagued by internal strife and lackluster finances. Many local Republican leaders have blamed Karamo’s leadership and her efforts to focus on grassroots fundraising rather than large-dollar donations.

A CNN investigation published in late 2023 found the party’s financial problems had become so bad that an internal report revealed the state party had a net income of just $71,000 over a nine-month period that ended with it $600,000 in debt.

Karamo’s ouster comes weeks after the censure of another state Republican Party chair.

The leadership of Florida’s Republican Party voted last month to censure Chairman Christian Ziegler as he faces an investigation into sexual assault allegations. While Ziegler still retains his title, the group reduced his salary to $1 annually, and Ziegler can no longer hire or fire staff, speak on behalf of the Florida GOP or raise funds for the party.

Florida GOP officials are expected to vote to officially oust Ziegler on Monday.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Jeff Simon and Carlos Suarez contributed to this report.

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