‘He Kicked Me in My Balls.’ Fight at Michigan GOP Meeting Turns Physical: Report

Michigan Republicans have been at odds about the direction of the state party, and the situation resulted in alleged physical violence Saturday night at a state committee meeting, The Detroit News reported.

James Chapman, a Republican from Wayne County, told the paper he traveled to the city of Clare to join the party meeting at the Doherty Hotel. But the meeting was reserved for members of the state committee. So Chapman said that he and others gathered outside the meeting location and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. He also said that he attempted to open a door to the meeting room by jiggling the doorknob.

Mark DeYoung, who chairs the Clare County Republican Party, said he heard Chapman’s attempt to enter the room and opened the door after seeing someone flip him the bird through a window. “He kicked me in my balls as soon as I opened the door,” DeYoung said of Chapman, speaking to The Detroit News by phone from the emergency room.

DeYoung added that Chapman charged him, slamming his body into a chair, and said he now has a broken rib. He intends to press charges.

“We’re so divided,” DeYoung told the paper. “I just wish we could come together.”

The paper also interviewed Chapman, who admitted he grabbed DeYoung’s legs and pushed him over, although Chapman said that DeYoung threatened him by saying, “I’ll kick your ass,” and took a swing at him. DeYoung denied Chapman’s claims.

Chapman also said that during the confrontation, he removed his glasses. “When you see me taking my glasses off, I’m ready to rock,” Chapman said.

Police confirmed to The Detroit News that a complaint was filed from the meeting but declined to give additional information.


Michigan Republicans have been struggling to find a path forward after losing control of the state’s legislature for the first time in nearly 40 years. State Chair Kristina Karamo, an election denier, has been fighting with the party co-chair over budget issues. Karamo also refused to concede her loss in Michigan’s 2022 secretary of state race, and she, along with others, was ordered to pay more than $58,000 in legal fees for bringing a baseless lawsuit challenging absentee votes in Detroit. The suit, in which Karamo was the lead plaintiff, was “rife with speculation, an absence of facts and a lack of understanding of Michigan election statutes and Detroit absentee ballot procedures,” the judge wrote.

The state of the Michigan GOP is so chaotic, this isn’t even the first physical altercation at a state party meeting this year. In April, police were called when two Republicans got into a fight. On video captured of the incident, Kalamazoo Republican Party Chair Kelly Sackett appeared to knock a cigarette and phone out of Macomb County GOP Secretary Melissa Pehlis’ hand. Pehlis then pushed her open hand toward Sackett’s head.