For Team Koch, It's Trump Who?

Americans for Prosperity has given up presidential race, focuses on GOP's other battlegrounds
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2016 8:21 AM CDT
For Team Koch, Hustle for GOP Is All Down-Ballot
In this photo taken Oct. 13, 2016, Stephen McGee with Americans for Prosperity knock on a voter's door in Bensalem, Pa. The Republican door-knockers are busy selling Sen. Pat Toomey, and they never mention Donald Trump.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The RNC might be holding emergency conference calls as Donald Trump's campaign flounders, but the presidential race might as well be non-existent for David and Charles Koch, the GOP mega-donors who announced months ago that they were sitting on their wallets as far as Trump is concerned. They've since focused their considerable energies and dollars on down-ballot races, specifically vulnerable Republicans in the Senate, reports the AP, which notes that the Kochs are on track to spend $250 million in the two years leading up to Nov. 8. Some $42 million of that has gone toward advertising, but with the clock ticking, the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity group has pulled that plug and focused on its ground game: They have 1,200 people on the payroll in 36 states.

The effort is targeted: AFP crunched data to identify 5 million voters in eight states that could tip control of the Senate; 600,000 of those voters are Pennsylvanians, leading to an influx of AFP workers in the Keystone State working to save the seat of Sen. Pat Toomey. That translates to about 11,000 Pennsylvania doors that are knocked on in a given week. North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio are also focal points. Says one voter, "I wasn't going to support (Toomey's opponent) anyway, but" a visit from an AFP worker made it "less" likely he'd vote for her. As far as the presidential race, he adds that no one has come calling to influence his vote, and he's not sure he'll cast a vote either way. "I'm aghast that that's the best we can do, let's put it that way." (More David Koch stories.)

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