RNC recognizes Pete Hoekstra as the new Michigan Republican Party chair

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The Republican National Committee has recognized former Rep. Pete Hoekstra as chairman of the Michigan GOP — a move aimed at settling a nasty dispute over party leadership in the battleground state.

An RNC official confirmed the decision Wednesday evening.

Hoekstra was selected by a faction of state party activists to replace Kristina Karamo, whose financial decisions and fundraising abilities had drawn wide criticism. But Karamo had refused to leave the post, arguing that she was not removed in accordance with party by-laws. The result had been a confusing stalemate, with both Hoekstra and Karamo claiming to be the chair.

Former President Donald Trump stepped into the battle last month, endorsing Hoekstra, who was his ambassador to the Netherlands.

An RNC panel had “ruled that it is their belief that Karamo was removed as chair, and it was recommended to the RNC Executive Committee to ratify Hoekstra as chair,” the RNC official told NBC News. “The Executive Committee took action today to unanimously ratify Hoekstra as an RNC member as chair.”

Hoekstra cheered the decision in a statement sent from the Gmail account his Michigan GOP team set up to communicate with the media while Karamo’s rival team maintained control of state party property.

“Both the RNC and our party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, have now come forward and recognized me as the duly elected chair of the Michigan Republican Party,” Hoekstra said. “It is time for the former chair who was properly removed in accordance with the MIGOP bylaws to end her misinformation campaign.”

A statement issued later Wednesday by Karamo’s team struck a defiant tone.

“The Michigan Republican Party will continue to move forward under the leadership of the Karamo administration, and Kristina Karamo will continue serving as the duly elected Chairwoman,” the statement read.

Karamo had previously questioned the RNC’s ability to remove her.

“Chairwoman [Ronna] McDaniel and RNC General Counsel have ignored all of the evidence in favor of their bias against me and a desire to install Pete Hoekstra,” she wrote in a letter last month to RNC members.

Republicans in Michigan and across the country had been watching the leadership fight with alarm, worrying that it would impede the party’s chances in what’s expected to be a top battleground state for control of the White House and the Senate in 2024. The RNC’s decision also comes weeks before the GOP presidential caucuses, which will be run by the state party.

Karamo, Hoekstra said Wednesday, “should join the fight to re-elect Donald Trump rather than dividing this Party. … We are ready to execute. We must put our nose to the grindstone over the next several months and focus on party unity to secure a red-wave victory in November.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com