Feb 5, 2023
Koch Network Signals It Wants to Help GOP Move on From Trump
(Bloomberg) -- The network established by conservative billionaires Charles Koch and his late brother David Koch is signaling it won’t support Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential primaries, saying it plans to back a candidate “who can lead our country forward, and who can win.”
Americans For Prosperity said in a memo to staff and activists released on Sunday that to get leaders who can overcome the “broken politics” in Washington — and to get better candidates than Republicans have been nominating — the group must get involved in elections earlier, starting with the presidential race.
“To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past,” Emily Seidel, the chief executive officer of AFP and a senior adviser for its affiliated super political action committee, said in the memo. “So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter.”
“The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that,” she said.
Seidel’s memo didn’t say how much the group plans to spend on the 2024 GOP presidential race. AFP Action spent almost $80 million on behalf of candidates in the 2022 cycle, according to OpenSecrets — including in 22 primaries at the federal level and almost 200 more in the states, according to the memo.
Trump is making his third White House bid with a potential rematch with President Joe Biden. But some polls show a majority of GOP voters are looking for an alternative — like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s widely expected to enter the race — who support Trump’s policies but don’t have his political baggage.
The former president is the only declared GOP presidential candidate. Former South Carolina Governor and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is expected to announce her candidacy on Feb. 15, and several other candidates besides DeSantis are considering a bid.
A Trump spokesman didn’t comment on Seidel’s memo, but the former president has been critical of the Koch network in the past. “I have never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” he said in 2018.
Trump also had a falling out with the conservative Club For Growth, a former ally that supported candidates in high-profile GOP primaries last year against Trump-endorsed candidates and has suggested it could back DeSantis over the former president in 2024.
“The Club For No Growth is a GLOBALIST group that I have been taking to the cleaners for years,” Trump said in a Jan. 30 post on his social-media site.
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