LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – With a field of potential candidates getting bigger by the minute, there could be a clash of political egos as the Michigan Republican Party hunts for a new chair.
That’s particularly likely if the chair’s race becomes a proxy war between former President Donald Trump, who announced his 2024 campaign today, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is picking up support for a potential challenge.
“This is a huge opportunity for the state GOP to start going in the right direction or completely implode. The Michigan Republicans are facing a massive crisis in leadership right now,” said political consultant John Sellek of Harbor Strategic Public Affairs.
On one hand, he thinks defeated candidate for governor Tudor Dixon, who has been criticized for not having a cadre of grassroots supporters, has some assets.
“Tudor Dixon has a good shot at this job. She’s been the face of the GOP. She’s got the perfect skill set (with her) TV background,” Sellek said. Dixon and James CRAIG, another unsuccessful candidate for governor, share something in common that may not be a plus for both.
“James Craig wasn’t a long time GOP activist. He wasn’t building up the ranks and neither was Tudor Dixon. That’s why there is a little bit of an advantage for Matt DePerno,” who has the grassroots underpinnings of a possible successful bid for the job.
There are two bad news aspects to this story, he said. First, the party already has internal divisions following the stunning losses the party took in the election. Secondly, this storyline over the next chair will lumber on for a little over three months, producing more coverage, some of which may get ugly.
He also foresees a possible side bar story involving the 2024 presidential race between Trump and DeSantis. If the former president wants to play in the Michigan GOP chair game, Sellek said there could be a proxy presidential fight if DeSantis joins the fray, too.
All of this has the Democrats planning for the future, he said, while the Republicans struggle with their own destiny under a leader who must not only raise more money, but bring peace to the party as well.
While many establishment Republicans are licking their wounds, a small number, under five, has formed to map out a plan to revitalize the state Republican Party. Don’t look for any immediate options as everyone has all but conceded that nothing can be done before the February convention.
Given the delegate composition, one source notes, “there is nothing we can do about it” and even after that the major concern of this group is that the “party” is about one-man and until that gets resolved,” the group is stymied in what it might do to breathe more financial life into the state GOP, assuming Trump is no longer the face of the state party.