Tags: Trump Administration | Americans for Prosperity | midterms | Koch brothers

Koch Brothers' Group Creating Grass-Roots Campaign Force

Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:27 AM

The conservative group backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch is creating a permanent force of campaign workers across the county to compete with the grass-roots supremacy of the Democrats.

Americans for Prosperity is spending tens of millions of dollars to mount a ground operation with more than 500 paid staffers placed in key races nationwide, according to The Washington Post.

And unlike other grass-roots efforts by GOP and Democratic organizations, the AFP has vowed that it has no plans to just dismantle and go home after the midterm elections next month.

"All we're going to do is get bigger," said AFP regional director Mark Lucas, who runs operations in 11 states, including Iowa. "After 2014, we're not shutting down our offices. You're going to see all these guys pack up the day after the election, but we're going to stay open."

The AFP employees, along with a horde of volunteers, are already targeting state legislative battles for 2015 as well as planning for even more sustained action in both congressional chambers in 2016, the Post reported.

"We've got to get to the point where we're a deeper part of a community, and the left has done that for a lot longer, with a much bigger footprint," said Tim Phillips, the group's national president.

"It's about building a brand in a community. Then when the attacks come, 'Oh, you're just part of a Koch network or some national network,' it doesn't really ring true with what people are seeing."

Americans for Prosperity, which has vowed to spend $125 million to support conservative candidates in 2014, is sending its workers door to door to glean information about voters and build a database.

The tax-exempt group, which says it is nonpartisan, is especially targeting close Senate races, including those in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, and North Carolina, by urging undecided voters not to support Democratic candidates, according to the newspaper.

The AFP admits that Democratic ground troops, with the help of the labor unions calling on its members to vote during the midterms, is better organized this year. But the conservative group has become the GOP's biggest outside asset, and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2016, said the Post.

The Iowa operation, launched in 2012 by Lucas, a 32-year-old Army ranger, is quickly playing catch-up with the Democrats and paving the way for other chapters across the country to follow suit.

Lucas has created five field offices and enlisted more than 30 paid staffers who have knocked on the doors of some 80,000 likely voters this year, surpassing any other chapter, the Post said.

"Basically, our field directors are community organizers," Lucas said. "People used to make fun of President Obama's background, but community organizing works."

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The conservative group backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch is creating a permanent force of campaign workers across the county to compete with the grass-roots supremacy of the Democrats.
Americans for Prosperity, midterms, Koch brothers
458
2014-27-07
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 10:27 AM
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