Koch Bros Nix Support For Key GOP Senate Candidate

The influential Koch political network announced Monday it is not supporting Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer in his race to unseat vulnerable Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota- the latest sign the conservative group is frustrated with the

President Trump unleashed another Twitter barrage in the wee hours, this time attacking the "globalist" Koch brothers for undermining a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate in North Dakota. He appeared at a Koch gathering last October in NY to seek the donors' support for the massive tax cut package Trump signed into law late previous year.

The megadonors drew the president's ire after Charles Koch said at a donor retreat in Colorado that their network wouldn't necessarily oppose all Democratic candidates exclusively because of their party affiliation. Trump collected 63 percent of the vote, defeating Clinton by 35.8 points.

While the move echoed across the political world, Republican operatives quietly dismissed the practical impact of the Koch's decision on the North Dakota Senate race, where Cramer's campaign believes he has a double-digit lead in the deep-red state against the Democratic incumbent.

But they have also pushed for criminal justice reform and made large donations to the American Civil Liberties Union. John Cornyn, R-Texas, recounted his visit to the Koch conference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP senators and aides, and described the frustration he encountered over Trump's trade policies and conduct, the Republicans said. "But we're raising the bar".

At a gathering of hundreds of donors at the Broadmoor resort here, officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle.

"Their network is highly overrated, I have beaten them at every turn", Trump said.

Colorado-based energy investor Chris Wright, a longtime Koch donor, said the Republican Party may have lost its way in the age of Trump.

More news: Carmakers surge after Trump agrees to put auto tariffs on hold

Charles and David Koch refused to endorse him in 2016.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrongly claimed that shoppers need to show photo identification to buy groceries and accused Democrats of obstructing his agenda and his Supreme Court nominee during a raucous rally aimed at bolstering two Florida Republicans ahead of the state's primary. "The Kochs see that being ripped away, thus the open contempt for the president and his movement", said former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Some Trump loyalists were furious even before Monday's news. They never wanted to be Democrats.

The Koch network largely ignored the criticism.

Top officials at Americans For Prosperity, the political and policy arm of the Koch network, said the group is not now supporting Cramer because he is not leading on central policy priorities for the Koch network.

Three political groups backed by the brothers said they would use advertising, lobbying and grassroots campaigns to push the benefits of free trade.

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