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 CramerEPA proposes rolling back states' authority over pipeline projects GOP senator held up Trump aide's confirmation to get info on border wall contracts Overnight Defense: Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief | Confirmed in 90-8 vote | Takes helm as Trump juggles foreign policy challenges | Senators meet with woman accusing defense nominee of sexual assault MORE’s (R-N.D.) bid against Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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 pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump 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.