Neil Vigdor at NYT:
Michigan Republicans on Saturday picked Kristina Karamo to lead the party in the battleground state, fully embracing an election-denying Trump acolyte after her failed bid for statewide office, one in which she unsuccessfully sued to throw out mail-in votes in Detroit and refused to concede.
Ms. Karamo won a majority of delegate votes at the state party’s convention in Lansing, the state capital, after three rounds of voting that — slowed by paper ballots and hand counting — went on hours longer than the period for which the party had originally rented the convention space.
Her victory appeared to be an upset of Matthew DePerno, another vocal champion of former President Donald J. Trump’s election falsehoods who had his backing in the leadership contest.
Despite Mr. Trump’s endorsement of her rival, Ms. Karamo’s victory in some ways signaled an even stronger recommitment to Mr. Trump as the state party’s north star: One of the biggest flourishes of applause from the crowd of more than 2,000 delegates came when Ms. Karamo reminded them of her refusal to concede the secretary of state’s race.
Florida Republicans on Saturday picked a political consultant with ties to former President Donald Trump advisers to lead the state party heading into the 2024 presidential cycle — a move that some supporters of Gov. Ron DeSantis fear is a “giant Florida win for Trump.”
Christian Ziegler defeated Evan Power 126-100 in the election to chair the Republican Party of Florida. Ziegler previously was the party’s vice chair, while Power served as the statewide GOP chair of chairs and as the leader of the Leon County Republican Party.
Both Ziegler and Power have said publicly throughout the race that their job as party chair would be to support Republicans and not meddle in primaries, but the race was viewed as a minor proxy war between supporters of Trump and DeSantis. Trump has already announced he is running for president and is increasingly attacking the Florida governor, who many anticipate will be his strongest challenger for the Republican nomination. DeSantis is expected to declare his candidacy in Spring.
Ziegler, a Republican political consultant with clients across the country, has worked closely with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, giving some the perception he was a more Trump-aligned candidate even as he has professed his support for DeSantis since he first took office in 2018. Ziegler’s wife, Bridget, is the co-founder of the conservative parental rights organization Moms for Liberty and was endorsed by DeSantis in her race for Sarasota County school board. [MOMS FOR LIBERTY IS A NOTORIOUS ANTIVAX GROUP.]
Trump’s team did nothing to downplay the proxy war perception after the vote.
“Chair races across the country are and should be important for people running for president,” said a consultant familiar with the Trump campaign’s thinking. The person was granted anonymity to freely discuss the race. “To that extent, the more Trump candidate won today. That means the Trump campaign is likely pleased with the outcome.