The Koch Brothers are making a push in Iowa to become the state’s new dominant political force.
The Kochs are expected to spend millions of dollars to help elect Republican Gov.
Terry Branstad in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, according to Politico and Bloomberg.
While Branstad is expected to win reelection, it will be difficult for Republicans to take back the state, given its relatively conservative demographic and the fact that Iowa is a solidly blue state.
“It’s a very conservative state, and that’s a big issue for the Kochs,” said Steve Locker, president of the Iowa-based Republican Party.
But Republicans don’t have to worry about the Koch influence in the caucuses, Locker added.
Iowa has traditionally been one of the most liberal states in the nation, and Republican Govs.
Terry McAuliffe and Tom Vilsack have shown that by opposing President Obama’s efforts to roll back environmental protections, support for abortion rights, and other progressive policies.
However, with the GOP poised to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, Branstad has been in a vulnerable position.
Branstad has faced criticism from a group of House Democrats, including Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Jim Clyburn (D.
In a letter to the GOP on Friday, Clyburn said that Branstad should not be allowed to run for re-election.
Clyburn wrote that he is “deeply concerned” about the continued presence of Koch-funded groups and “an attempt to politicize the Iowa caucuses.”
Aides to Branstad said that the state is in no hurry to elect a Democrat.
GOP sources said that both Branstad and Udall were not involved in the fundraising effort, but that they were still supportive of the governor’s bid.
Democrats have spent the last several days working to woo the Koch Brothers to the state and are confident that they will pull off a major win in the caucus, according a source familiar with the matter.
Republican state Sen. Chris Larson, who is also a member of the caucus’ governing body, said that there was no pushback from Democrats at all from his caucus, and he said the Koch support was “overwhelming.”
“I’ve never seen this much energy from the Koch-backed groups, not even in the last couple of days,” Larson said.
“I don’t see a lot of animosity at all.”
But the Koch network and its allies will have a lot riding on the outcome of the caucuses.
A new poll released by the Public Policy Polling (PPP) on Monday shows that Americans view the Koch initiative as a major threat to the country, with 49 percent of respondents believing that the Koch group is a major problem, and only 13 percent seeing it as a minor problem.
Kochs allies also have had a major impact in Iowa, which is one of seven states that has a GOP governor.
As the Koch operatives have begun to pour money into Iowa, they have taken a direct hit from the Republican Governors Association, which spent $500,000 on television ads attacking the governor and accusing him of “going against the Koch agenda” during his re-nomination bid.
The Koch campaign has been aggressive in the run up to the Iowa caucus, targeting Republican activists who oppose Branstad’s attempts to rollback environmental protections and abortion rights.
Several GOP lawmakers who are running for the state Senate, including Iowa House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), have been targeted by the Koch media and its conservative allies in an effort to discredit them.
On Monday, the Koch donor network gave the Iowa GOP $50,000 in a separate fundraising email to the group’s Iowa chapter, according.
In addition, the state GOP has been flooded with money from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which has donated $30 million to the party.
This weekend, the GOP also announced that it was sending in new Republican Party Chairwoman Amanda Curtis to New Hampshire.
Other prominent Republicans who have been attacked by the GOP include former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, who was targeted by Koch-linked media during his Senate bid in 2016; former Louisiana Gov.
Bobby Jindal; former Texas Governor Rick Perry; former South Carolina Gov.
Nikki Haley; former Pennsylvania Gov.
Tom Ridge; and former New York Governor George Pataki.