Fearing a Donald Trump nomination, top GOP donors are seeking to ensure down-ticket candidates in battleground states across the country get re-elected and don’t get burned by what they think will be “the Trump effect.”
The GOP elite and the party’s top donors have been dealt a huge blow this presidential cycle, with all of their candidates falling victim to the rise of the billionaire businessman and completely blindsided by his popularity among the GOP voters. No matter how big the check, the donor class of the Republican Party has been completely ineffective against Trump.
But now the GOP donors are looking to limit what they think the damage will be — specifically in Senate and congressional races where candidates facing re-election are embattled. The key to their strategy is to focus on local issues, hoping that voters will pay more attention to the matters affecting their local communities rather than associating Republican candidates with Trump.
Currently, Republicans have a majority in both the Senate and the House, but some within the GOP fear that majority could fade away if Trump is at the top of the ticket.
Multiple Koch-funded organizations, such as Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, and Concerned Veterans for America, have already begun releasing a series of ads.
Multiple organizations funded by the conservative Koch brothers, such as Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, and Concerned Veterans for America, have already begun releasing a series of ads in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Another major money source for this effort is American Crossroads super PAC, an organization meant to serve as a counterbalance to the outside groups that assists Democratic candidates. It was formed by Karl Rove and run by GOP operative Steven Law.
Law also runs a variety of other pro-Republican groups, such as One Nation, which is running a million-dollar ad campaign for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who faces a tough re-election in the state of New Hampshire. So far the ads have addressed Ayotte’s ability to work in a bipartisan fashion to fight the heroin epidemic that has plagued the Granite State.
Voters can expect to see much of the same in swing states across the country, with millions of dollars pouring in from outside groups as the presidential race inches closer to the general election.
Democrats will focus their efforts on forcing Republican candidates to disavow Trump in order to take back the house and senate. Democrats will work to paint all Republicans in the same light as Trump, attaching them to his policy proposals and sometimes controversial statements — a harmful tactic that the GOP elite are trying to circumvent.
The Establishment and donor class has yet to warm to Trump, choosing instead to endorse one-time enemy to the Establishment, Sen. Ted Cruz. It seems all the more likely that if Trump becomes the nominee, the GOP donor class will sit out the presidential race and run from Trump in an effort to preserve a Republican controlled Congress.