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Will Michigan Republican Party infighting and money problems hurt its candidates for office?

 Two factions of the Michigan Republican Party are fighting for control of its leadership - amid serious money problems.
Benh LIEU SONG from Torcy, France / Benh LIEU SONG, CC BY-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons
Two factions of the Michigan Republican Party are fighting for control of its leadership - amid serious money problems.

Factions in the Michigan Republican Party are fighting over who leads it, and the party is also struggling with serious money troubles.

But David Dulio, an Oakland University political science professor, thinks the situation is unlikely to hurt the campaigns of Republican candidates for office this year.

The Michigan Republican Party has long been a major source of support for Republican candidates, Dulio acknowledged. He said the problems have badly damaged what was, until recently, a strong state party.

But Dulio said there's so much at stake this election year — control of the Michigan Legislature, and possibly control of the U.S. Senate and House — that others across the state and country will certainly step in.

"Those candidates that need those funds or need extra volunteers to do door knocking or voter contact, they're going to get it from somewhere else," he said. "They're not going to be hurting for resources, because other third-party groups are going to fill the void that is left by an anemic Michigan Republican Party at this point."

Those resources could come from the campaign arm of the state House Republican Caucus, as well as interest groups and political action committees.

Meanwhile, it's unclear when the leadership fight will be over. A faction of the party that says it ousted Kristina Karamo as state party chair and selected an interim chair earlier this month, now plans to elect a new state party chair this weekend.

Karamo, who was elected chair last year, says she's still the chair, and the upcoming election is illegitimate.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.