The decision by Americans for Prosperity's super PAC to endorse Nikki Haley for president is causing a rift in the group and other organizations affiliated with the Koch Network.
NBC News reported on the development Monday, noting that the former United Nations ambassador has as many allies as those who are skeptical in the conservative network affiliated with billionaire Charles Koch.
One of those who went vocal with their concerns is Chris Maidment, a former director of grassroots for the network in New Hampshire.
He was terminated from the position after publicly opposing the Haley endorsement in a thread on X, noting the candidate's difference of opinion to the network on key issues like free speech and foreign policy.
"There are dozens who feel the way I do. That was the main motivation for my thread," Maidment told NBC. "They, for obvious reasons, don't want to speak out, but I've spoken with many who agree with my perspective on this and are dismayed with the endorsement.
"And it was made known to leadership well in advance of the endorsement that there would be a lot of attrition if Haley ended up being the choice."
Elsewhere in Iowa, the former AFP director of its chapter in the state, Mark Lucas, endorsed former President Donald Trump at a Saturday event in Cedar Rapids and slammed the network.
But AFP CEO Emily Seidel defended the PAC's endorsement of Haley when NBC asked about the candidate's interventionist foreign policy record and recent examples of employees breaking rank.
"We're going to work with anyone where we agree, and where we disagree, we just hope that we can have a constructive and respectful dialogue to help get to a better place," Seidel said, adding that it is fair to say they share the "same goals" on foreign policy.
The Koch network has been a power player in politics for some time, raising tens of millions every election cycle for decades to fund business-friendly Republicans, The New York Times reported.
However, NBC noted that some fear that their hesitancy to jump on board with Trump threatens to chip away at their influence if he takes back the Oval Office in 2024.
Their move to endorse Haley over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis comes as the former South Carolina governor appears to be gaining ground on him in 2024 GOP primary polls, especially in early states.
While Trump leads by a significant 27-percentage-point margin in Iowa, FiveThirtyEight estimates that DeSantis and Haley are battling it out for second place, at 17.7% and 15%, respectively.
Luca Cacciatore ✉
Luca Cacciatore, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is based in Arlington, Virginia, reporting on news and politics.
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