Koch network won't back GOP Senate candidate in North Dakota

Koch network won't back GOP Senate candidate in North Dakota
© Greg Nash

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The political groups affiliated with billionaire conservative businessman Charles Koch will not support Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerSenators highlight threat from invasive species Overnight Defense: Top general wasn't consulted on Syria withdrawal | Senate passes bill breaking with Trump on Syria | What to watch for in State of the Union | US, South Korea reach deal on troop costs GOP senators think Trump would win vote on emergency declaration MORE’s (R-N.D.) bid against Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D-N.D.), citing Cramer’s record on spending.

“He’s inconsistent across the board on these issues and that makes it hard to support him,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans For Prosperity.

“He’s not leading on the issues where this country needs leadership right now, issues like spending … or trade," Phillips added. "We can’t support him at this time and we’ve met with his team, explained this and lobbied them on this.”

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Heitkamp is a top target for Republicans in November. She’s one of 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection in states President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE carried in 2016.

The Koch network will spend about $400 million this cycle to elect Republican candidates and promote conservative causes. The network historically supports Republican candidates, but at a donor summit here in Colorado Springs, senior officials have expressed deep frustration with GOP lawmakers on issues like spending and trade.

Koch officials are furious with Republicans, like Cramer, who voted for the $1.3 trillion spending bill that passed in March.

They’re vowing to hold Republicans accountable for their votes.

“We’re raising the bar,” said Americans for Prosperity CEO Emily Seidel, who added that Republicans should not expect the network to automatically support them going forward.