Republican Congressman says Michigan’s GOP “a circular firing squad”


“You certainly can’t count on the state party. They don’t have the resources. They don’t have the organization.”

Bill Huizenga is Michigan’s U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District. He’s a Republican and he’s purposely distancing himself from the very public political battle at the top of the Michigan GOP. He’s staying out of it he says because party leaders are more focused on the internal strife than raising money, finding and supporting winning candidates, and winning policy battles.

Michigan’s Republican Party essentially has two chairpersons right now. There’s Kristina Karamo, the incumbent a faction of the GOP voted out of office, and former ambassador and U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra, the person chosen to replace Karamo. The problem is, Karamo won’t cede control of the party and either the courts or the Republican National Committee might have to intervene to settle the dispute.

“Sadly, a lot of the Michigan Republicans have metaphorically been engaging in a circular firing squad here. They’ve been more concerned about taking each other out than they have been in having robust political debates with our political opponents. And that isn’t helpful by any stretch of the imagination. It really feels like it’s every candidate for themselves right now.”

Huizenga is a long-time Republican who interned for the Republican Study Committee on Capitol Hill, volunteered for political campaigns, and served as district director for then-Congressman Pete Hoekstra. When he ran for Congress, Huizenga stood on the traditional GOP platform: prosperity for the next generation, job creation through private sector growth, smaller government, and national security.

Since becoming a member of Congress, Huizenga has reached across the aisle to work with Democrats on matters involving the environment and shaping policy to reduce the nation’s debt. Unlike the state party’s stance currently, policy has never been an all-or-nothing proposition for Huizenga.

Today, Huizenga isn’t sure who leads Michigan’s Republican Party to promote their messages. He is confident, however, that there hasn’t been much if any leadership under Kristina Karamo.

“I don’t think she’s been effective as a party chair. I thought that from the very beginning. That was going to be her biggest challenge and I don’t think she has been organized. I don’t think she’s been able to go in and strike a chord.”

Asked whether Karamo should step down for the good of the party, letting Republicans focus on the 2024 elections rather than the infighting, Huizenga says that’s up to the party’s leaders from around the state.

“I will leave that to the delegates. I wish we were focusing on how we can get our positive message out to the voters to let them understand that we can govern. This does not look like governing… and that’s sad because I know we can but frankly, whether it’s dysfunction in Washington or dysfunction here in the state of Michigan (the infighting) doesn’t breed any kind of confidence.”

The congressman won’t rely on the state party for re-election, and he is optimistic voters will hear his message directly, see what he’s done in Washington, and return him for another term. As far as the ongoing battle for who will lead the Republican Party, Huizenga still views the debate as more healthy than the alternative.

“You know, this democracy thing is kind of messy sometimes, right? Our representative republic is intended to be robust and at times have friction. Guess what? There’s a lot of countries that don’t have that, but those are called dictatorships.”