Correction: Your Week in Metro Detroit

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Correction: This newsletter has been updated to clarify that in a podcast episode, Kristina Karamo stated her false belief that antifa – instead of supporters of former President Donald Trump – carried out the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Good morning Free Press Subscribers,

I’m Clara Hendrickson and this election year, I’m focused on the nuts and bolts of administering elections and will be closely tracking the contest for Michigan’s next chief elections officer.

The Michigan Republican Party has endorsed Kristina Karamo — a relative political newcomer — in the secretary of state’s race against incumbent Jocelyn Benson. I took a look at Karamo’s campaign and her background in an in-depth profile that looks at the sudden rise of the political outsider now running for a top statewide office.

Karamo is a 36 year-old Oak Park community college instructor who caught the eye of former President Donald Trump. He announced his support for her last year and traveled to Michigan in April to hold a rally in Macomb County to boost her candidacy. I spoke to some Trump supporters ahead of that rally who told me that they had never heard of Karamo (who has only run for office once before in a bid to serve as an Oakland County commissioner). But when she took the stage, she electrified the crowd and competed with Trump for some of the loudest applause of the night.

Karamo did not respond to a request for an interview with me. But her podcast, website and interviews with those who know her provide some insight into the elusive candidate.

On her podcast, Karamo calls herself a “Christian apologist and a general social critic” and calls politics an “arena” for a “spiritual battle.” In one episode she said that she believes that antifa — not Trump supporters — were behind the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, echoing a widely debunked conspiracy theory.

While reporting, I searched through archives of her campaign website and found that she previously used it as a blog outlining her views on social issues. In old pages on her website, I uncovered writings from her calling transgender people “mentally ill adults playing dress up” and calling on schools to stop teaching evolution.

On the campaign trail, she has said she has faced vitriolic attacks as a Black Republican. During a recent interview with Steve Bannon, she said some have called her a “traitor to her people.” She accused Democrats of deriding Republicans as racist and sexist as a political tactic that she said won't work against her as a Black Republican woman.

Her efforts to fight the results of that election helped put her on the map politically in 2020. She rose to national prominence that year as an election fraud “whistleblower.” But I took a close look at claims of fraud she said she witnessed in Detroit where she worked as an election challenger and they don't provide evidence of wrongdoing.

Any year in Michigan politics is guaranteed to be interesting, but this may be the race to watch in an election year in which the administration of elections has taken center stage.

Thank you for reading and supporting the Free Press. I can be reached at 313-296-5743 or Follow me on Twitter @clarajanehen.

Clara Hendrickson

Report for America Corps Member, Detroit Free Press

Clara Hendrickson, Report for America Corps Member
Clara Hendrickson, Report for America Corps Member

Now scroll down for more top-notch subscriber-only stories you may have missed this week.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Uncovering Kristina Karamo: The 'MAGA warrior'