GOP Elects QAnon Conspiracist Who Thinks Yoga Is Satanic as Party Chair in Michigan

Kristina Karamo became chair over Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate—because she was more extreme.
Cameron Joseph
Washington, US
Kristina Karamo looks on during the Unite America rally at Fairlane Banquet Center in Dearborn, Michigan on October 30, 2022.
Kristina Karamo looks on during the Unite America rally at Fairlane Banquet Center in Dearborn, Michigan on October 30, 2022. (Photo by Nic Antaya for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump wanted his election-denying campaign lawyer, a failed statewide candidate who faces potential criminal charges, to run Michigan’s Republican Party.

But even Trump’s candidate wasn’t extreme enough for GOP voters in one of the most important swing states.

Michigan Republicans elected former Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo as their  new state party chair over the weekend, choosing a candidate who still refuses to concede her 14-point election loss last fall, has close ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement and thinks everyone and everything is satanic, from Jay-Z to Cardi B to yoga.


Karamo defeated Matt DePerno, Trump’s handpicked candidate, 58 percent to 42 percent on the third ballot on Saturday. DePerno has also pushed election conspiracy theories, and is facing the possibility of a criminal probe from a special investigator into whether he conspired to illegally access voting machines after the 2020 election.

She did so by doubling down on claims that the 2022 election was somehow rigged against her and other Republicans. Democrats swept statewide offices in Michigan, winning by surprisingly wide margins in every race. 

“Why would I concede to a fraudulent process? Conceding to a fraudulent process is an agreement with the fraud, which I will not do,” Karamo said to cheers during her weekend speech to the state party convention as she campaigned for chair.

Karamo has close ties with the QAnon movement. She was part of a QAnon-aligned slate of secretary of state candidates who ran in swing states in an attempt to seize control of the election system, and has pushed the wild QAnon conspiracy theory that elites drink the blood of children and sell off body parts after abortions. She’s spread other conspiracy theories too, falsely claiming that the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 were “totally antifa posing as Trump supporters.”


Karamo’s win is a problematic development for Republicans. Michigan is a key presidential battleground state that will be important in 2024. Her own double-digit loss in 2022 says a lot about her political organizing ability, and her win is the latest proof that hardline conspiracists have pushed out the establishment party regulars who helped Republicans win a number of hard-fought statewide races over the past decade.

And she isn’t the only fringe candidate who’s won a race for state party chair since the midterms.

Kansas Republicans recently elected Mike Brown, an election-denying conspiracy theorist, as its new party chair after a contentious race where he defeated an establishment-leaning Republican.

And while Arizona Republicans replaced divisive conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward as party chair, their new leader won by courting conspiracy theorists and winning endorsements from the slate of 2022 GOP nominees who’d pushed lies about the 2020 and 2022 elections.

Their new chairman is former Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, who chaired Trump’s 2016 campaign in Arizona and was his campaign’s national chief operating officer in 2020. 

DeWit won that race by promising to unify the fractured party after warding off a challenge from a farther-right conspiracy theorist. But he did so by courting the hard right, winning endorsements from Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, a pair of election conspiracists who continue to insist not only that Trump’s election loss was fraudulent in 2020, but that their own 2022 election losses were rigged against them.

“We will take our elections back, we will bring election integrity back to Arizona with me as the chairman,” DeWit said during his nominating speech, pushing the falsehood that Arizona’s elections are corrupt.

Karamo is one of the most extreme party chairs, but she’s not exactly an outlier. A VICE News investigation in 2021 found 19 of the 50 Republican state party chairs pushed lies that Trump’s 2020 election loss was fraudulent.

And she might have more company soon. Colorado election conspiracy theorist and former Mesa County Election Clerk Tina Peters is running in a crowded race to become Colorado’s Republican Party chair, though it appears that she’s a long shot in that race. Peters is facing felony charges over allegations she tampered with Colorado’s election system, and refused to concede her double-digit primary loss for secretary of state in 2022.