Kochs Spurn Gardner’s North Dakota Hopeful

Senator Cory Gardner (R).

Politico’s Maggie Severns reports from Colorado Springs, where the Koch Brothers are wrapping up their annual retreat of well-heeled Republican donors and the politicians who orbit them–and making decisions about where their precious dollars will be spent in a difficult upcoming midterm election:

The powerful Koch political network won’t help the Republican nominee in a crucial Senate race less than 100 days before the midterm elections, saying Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) doesn’t do enough to further the Koch’s policy issues to warrant their help in the race.

The announcement — made in front of hundreds of top conservative donors — came as the Koch network took steps to distance itself from the Republican Party during a weekend retreat. Cramer, Americans for Prosperity president Tim Phillips told the donors, co-sponsored legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and is “inconsistent” on a range of other issues that are key to the Koch network, such as reducing government spending and free trade…

Cramer is challenging Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in a must-win contest that could decide the balance of power in the Senate during the next Congress. The Koch network recently took a minor step to help Heitkamp by thanking her for supporting reforms to Dodd-Frank financial law, but operatives were clear they don’t back Heitkamp on a variety of other issues during their talk.

Make no mistake: this is a highly public snub of the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s chosen candidate in the pivotal North Dakota Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is in the fight of her life to both hold her seat and in so doing put Democrats within striking range of taking control of the U.S. Senate. It’s a situation in which NRSC chairman Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, once a darling of the Koch political-industrial complex, surely wishes he had a unified front of Republican support.

Along with a deepening crisis in the House as generic ballots slip closer and closer to a Democratic landslide in November, flagging support for Republican Senate candidates from heavy hitting and long-critical Republican donors paints an increasingly dire picture for the GOP heading into election season. Any one of these developments could fairly be considered “the last thing Republicans need.” In aggregate it’s something very like a perfect storm.

Don’t feel too bad for Cory, though. He may not have planned for Donald Trump, but he wanted this job.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ZappateroZappatero says:

    May they all be struck by lightning in one of God’s glorious thunderstorms. 

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    Doesn't this place in jeopardy Cory's job prospects at Koch Industries come December 2020? Shouldn't he have recruited more Koch-friendly candidates to run this cycle?

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    Who knew that finding a proper balance of Trumpian fervor, willing acceptance of McConnell and the Senate leadership, and agreement with the Kochs and their network would be difficult?

    If Kochs and friends don't like Cramer (R-ND), it is hard to believe they will be flinging cash at Rep. Marsha Blackburn. And there are a couple of candidates for the Republican nod in Arizona who are equally ill-suited for the Kochs, as they go all in for Trump, indicate they are marginally interested in McConnell, and don't have positions that match the Koch network's priorities.

  4. gertie97 says:

    The Kochs are lying. As usual. They'll support anybody offering more tax cuts and cutting regulations.

  5. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Maybe it’s just a head-fake? They’re just assuming the Dems are stuck, running a single-wing offense?  

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