In this Oct. 2, 2020, file photo, Unlock Michigan Co-Chairs Garrett Soldano, Ron Armstrong and Meshawn Maddock, left to right, speak to supporters in Lansing, Michigan. Credit: Rod Sanford / Detroit News via AP

LANSING, Michigan — A Michigan GOP activist who organized busloads of Trump supporters who travelled to the Capitol in Washington, D.C. for a Wednesday protest that devolved into a riot is about to become state co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party.

The proposed leadership role for Meshawn Maddock is not sitting well with some party members.

On Wednesday, Michigan Republican Party Chair Laura Cox announced she would not seek a second two-year term — a decision she said in an email to party members she arrived at over the Christmas holidays.

The unexpected announcement from Cox means that under current rules there will be no election for the top post at the state party convention in early February. Only one candidate, former chairman Ron Weiser, had registered to challenge Cox ahead of the deadline. Weiser is running on a slate with Maddock as co-chair.

“Meshawn Maddock needs to withdraw as the (unopposed) candidate for co-chairman of the Michigan Republican Party,” state Republican activist Dennis Lennox tweeted Wednesday. “If she doesn’t, the convention should suspend the rules and elect a candidate from the floor. Period.”

Maddock, a board member of the Michigan Conservative Coalition and a national advisory board member of Women for Trump, helped organize buses leaving from Michigan to Washington, D.C. to carry Michigan Trump supporters to the nation’s capital.

On Wednesday, she tweeted from the Capitol that those in attendance at the “Prayer to Save America” rally at the Ellipse, which turned violent when Trump supporters stormed past police and occupied the Capitol, were “the most incredible crowd and sea of people I’ve ever walked with.”

She posted a video from the rally to Instagram in which a man in the crowd can be heard shouting: “We need to march on the Capitol and drag these people out of power.”

Both Maddock and her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, spoke at the rally, according to a video from the Right Side Broadcasting Network posted to Facebook. Meshawn Maddock told the crowd, “We never stop fighting,” but did not expressly advocate entering the Capitol by force.

Matt Maddock told the crowd he was one of a group of state lawmakers from Michigan who wrote Vice President Mike Pence, urging him not to count Michigan’s electoral votes for Biden.

Neither responded to text messages or phone calls Wednesday, but Meshawn Maddock told the Free Press Monday she was organizing buses and expected thousands of Michiganders to join other Trump supporters from across the U.S. in converging near the Capitol.

“As a leader for Republicans in Michigan, I’m going to stand shoulder to shoulder with Americans that know voter fraud is real,” she said in a text message. “Voters no longer trust the system and we want people prosecuted. Now is not the time for summer soldiers and sunshine Patriots, now is the time for brave men to do the right thing.”

Weiser is a businessman, party fundraiser, and philanthropist who was appointed ambassador to Slovakia under President George W. Bush and chaired the state party during the 2010 and 2018 election cycles.

He did not respond to a Wednesday text message asking whether he had any concerns about Maddock serving as state co-chair, given Wednesday’s developments.

Cox confirmed to the Free Press she will not seek another term but did not respond to a question about Maddock.

“Over the Christmas holiday, I realized that while this has been the best job of my life it is time to move on,” Cox said in the email to party members. “But while I move on from the title, I will never move on from our party or principles we all fight for.”

Under Cox, Trump lost Michigan to Democrat Joe Biden Nov. 3 after narrowly winning the state in 2016 and Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James was defeated by incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. But the party held its majority in the state House and won a competitive U.S. House race in western Michigan to succeed U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, who left the party over differences with Trump.

In her email, Cox thanked party volunteers. “Each time the bell rang, you got in the ring with me and fought your heart out for our party, for our state, for our nation, and for our children,” she said.

Story by Paul Egan and Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press.