Elections

Bush 43, Koch Brothers Team Up To Fundraise For Senate Candidates

(STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter
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Former President George W. Bush and Freedom Partners Action Fund, a Koch-backed Super PAC, worked to fill in the fundraising gaps in key Senate races left by the unpopular Donald Trump presidential campaign Sunday.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Trump only managed to raise $3.1 million from outside sources in May. The total amount raised is significantly lower than past Republican presidential candidates. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised $23.4 million during the same month in his bid, while Sen. John McCain raised $21.5 million during that month in his bid in 2008.

My sense is that it is an epic disaster that is going to get worse,” former fundraiser for the Republican National Congressional Committee Rob Jesmer said of Trump’s fundraising ability. “It is highly problematic for people running up and down the ticket.”

That lack of funding doesn’t just affect the Trump campaign. The Republican Party’s fundraising is down considerably compared to this point in other races. It has only raised $13 million in May, the same amount it raised in April, when there was no presumptive nominee.

In addition, Trump failed to fundraise for the party, Senate or House. In traditional races, candidates use their funding to gather voter data, and then make that data accessible for other candidates to use. Trump also has a very small research team, making that assistance impossible.

There is essentially no support for those running in highly competitive races across the nation. Bush and the Koch brothers are teaming up to ensure that candidates running in Senate and House still have fundraising support.

Bush campaigned for Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio and Sen. John McCain in Arizona. All three races are considered hotly contested and crucial to ensuring the GOP maintains a majority in the Senate. Other fundraisers are planned for candidates in Wisconsin and Missouri.

The Koch brothers, through Freedom Partners Action Fund, donated over $19 million this election cycle to Senate and House campaigns. The group announced Friday it will begin a $2.7 million ad push in Ohio on behalf of Portman, and $1.2 million in Nevada against Minority Leader Harry Reid-backed Catherine Masto.

Establishment Republicans hesitated to join the race of the bombastic billionaire, and some party leaders have left the party, such as commentator George Will and campaigner Mary Matalin.

The Koch brothers came out months ago stating their distrust for the Republican nominee, while Bush said he will never support Trump.

Bush hasn’t campaigned heavily since 2009, but enjoys a large influence on donors among the party elite.

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