Leaders within the Koch network are refusing to endorse North Dakota Republican Kevin Cramer, a House Rep. hoping to unseat Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
Cramer is a Trump ally who recently supported the president’s idea to provide $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers to mitigate the effects of retaliatory tariffs.
The Koch network, which favors small government and is against tariffs, described the emergency aid as a “bailout.”
In June, the network ran a surprise ad campaign thanking Senator Heitkamp for her vote on a bill that eased banking regulations.
Rep. Cramer said he respects the Koch network’s decision not to endorse him and said his voting record “may not be exactly what every national organization wants,” but is “exactly what the majority of North Dakotans expect” – including “tax cuts, jobs creation, patient-centered healthcare, strong borders, free, fair, and reciprocal trade, and strong military and veterans’ care.”
Tim Phillips, who leads the Koch network’s political arm Americans for Prosperity, criticized Cramer as someone who has failed to lead. “We’re raising the bar,” Phillips said last weekend at a gathering of donors in Colorado Springs.
Network members met in Colorado for three days to discuss midterm elections and other pertinent issues. Members criticized Trump’s tariffs and populist policies, but celebrated his gains on tax reform, the economy, and the Supreme Court.
In response, President Trump described the Koch network as “highly overrated” and a “total joke” and claimed he had made the Koch brother richer.
The Koch brothers previously said they would to spend as much as $400 million to advance GOP candidates and policies in the upcoming midterm elections. So far, the network is involved in only three of eight toss-up Senate races, which take place just three months from now.
In June, David Koch announced he would be stepping out of the network due to health problems.
Editor’s note: It always worries me when the Kochs, the Steyers and the Soros’ of the world step into election with their individual opinions backed by 10’s or 100’s of millions of dollar. We haven’t figure out the campaign contribution problem just yet.