County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Another GOP Kerfuffle in Clare


 One wonders if the Doherty Hotel will allow the Republican Party to book events there in the future. The second incident since April that required the police to be called happened Saturday, July 8 during a meeting led by state party head Kristina Karamo.

Mark DeYoung, Clare County Republican Party co-chair, and James Chapman, a Republican from Wayne County, tussled over a locked door when Chapman and others tried to gain entry to a state committee meeting. No arrests were made, but DeYoung filed a police complaint which was not available at Cleaver at press time.

DeYoung was taken to the hospital for possible fractures in his back and ribs. He told Bridge Michigan he opened the door a foot wide and Chapman kicked him in the groin and then tackled him in the hallway. Chapman claims he acted in self-defense, claiming DeYoung had threatened him through the window of the locked door. Chapman was upset by the closed meeting and the party’s lack of transparency.

Subsequently, James Chapman was suspended Monday by the Wayne 6th Congressional District Republican Committee.

The incident lasted less than a minute but has echoed in news articles around the country and even as far as the United Kingdom. Irresistible headlines are all over the internet: “Republican figures brawl in wild ball-kicking, rib cracking battle in Michigan” (Yahoo), “‘He Kicked Me in My Balls.’ Fight at Michigan GOP Meeting Turns Physical: Report” (Rolling Stone), “Violent brawl breaks out at Michigan GOP committee meeting” (The Independent), “Scuffle breaks out at Michigan GOP state committee meeting” (Detroit News), and the tamer “Kicked in groin, Republican downplays party feud: ‘Some people are crazy.’” (Bridge Magazine).

While the headlines may give the public a chuckle as the story is repeated like the old telephone game, incidents like this are emblematic of larger problems in our current political climate.

In April, a video was taken of the altercation between Kelly Sackett, Kalamazoo Republican Party chair, and Melissa Pehlis, Macomb County GOP secretary, at the Doherty Hotel in which Sackett filed charges. That disagreement was over state party leadership. Those charges are still pending in the Clare County Prosecutor’s Office.


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