Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kochs’ Network Wrestles With Expectations for Presidential Primaries

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, NYT
AUG. 30, 2014

DALLAS — The network overseen by Charles G. and David H. Koch has knocked on the doors of a million voters this year, elbowed aside some of the Republican Party’s top strategists and built one of the biggest fund-raising operations in politics.

But as 3,000 activists, dozens of big donors and a gaggle of presidential aspirants gathered here for a pre-election conference held by the network’s flagship political organization, Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ political operation is confronting the anxieties of influence.

Koch-backed organizations have largely steered clear of the bitter battles this year between establishment Republicans and Tea Party conservatives, instead encouraging Republicans to emphasize economic freedom and mounting well-financed attacks on Senate Democrats. Mindful of the failure of conservative groups to unseat President Obama in 2012, they have cleaned house, retooled their data efforts and grass-roots outreach, and cautioned donors that a Republican Senate majority will not be easily attainable.

Yet the Koch network’s growing importance to Republicans — its groups are planning to raise and spend a combined $300 million by Election Day — and its expanding grass-roots footprint have put pressure on it to become more aggressive in reshaping the Republican Party as 2016 approaches.

(More here.)

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