Trump/Koch feud's impact on Indiana US Senate race
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Could a falling out between President Donald Trump and two of the largest conservative benefactors hurt Republican Indiana U.S. Senate nominee Mike Braun’s election chances in November?
The Koch Brothers reportedly told donors in January they were planning on spending $400 million on this year’s midterms.
And quite a bit of that spending has already gone to attacking Braun’s opponent Joe Donnelly.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) spent nearly $4 million on ads criticizing Sen. Donnelly for voting against the GOP tax package in December.
It’s just a drop in the bucket for the limited government, pro jobs, conservative advocacy group that was founded by David and Charles Koch.
Their network has reached into Hoosier politics before, even hosting the first Republican U.S. Senate primary debate.
But could that support shift elsewhere thanks to Pres. Trump’s imposed tariffs?
“This is a big sticking point for them and a lot of other conservative groups and causes,” said Rick Klein, ABC News political director. “And ultimately the Koch organization said they won’t be supporting one Republican senator [nominee Kevin Cramer, of North Dakota] basically because he supporting the Trump agenda too much.”
The president lashed out at the duo’s disapproval over twitter, calling them globalists and carried on the attacks at recent rallies.
“Did you see a certain gentleman the other day said, ‘Donald Trump doesn't take care of foreign workers,’ I said, ‘He's right.’ that was Charles Koch”
The Koch network is reportedly pulling back support on key races because of this rift.
Mike Braun’s support for the president’s trade decisions could land him in the same predicament.
“Braun would obviously have the support than others, he’s going to have ample resources regardless,” said Klein. “But it highlights one of the perils of supporting the trump agenda and most Republicans this year are all in on President Trump.”
A representative for the AFP did not have a comment for this story.
A spokesman for Braun’s camp says they’re only focused on their campaign.