The wealthy Republican donors, Charles and David Koch, are impressed with Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, and now that interest is cemented as one Koch-backed group will feature Fiorina at high-profile policy event, NBC has learned.
Americans for Prosperity will feature Fiorina at one of their Road to Reform events, which focuses on the group's small-government legislative priorities. The event will take place in Reno, Nevada on December 16th, the day after the fifth Republican debate in Las Vegas.
It is the next in a series of events as part of the Reform America agenda held in an early presidential nominating states. The other presidential candidates who have been invited to speak at this policy series include Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush – all candidates the Koch brothers have shown an interest.
The opportunity to be featured by AFP allows Fiorina to reach the group's vast network of activists, the Koch organization's generous donors and the Koch brothers deep pockets.
The Kochs have indicated that they and their donor network could spend more than $750 million this presidential election season.
Fiorina was also invited to speak at the Koch donor summit this past summer in California.
As for AFP's grassroots' heft, just the Nevada branch of AFP employs 18 people, more than any presidential campaign present in the state, and accounts for 54,000 activists, according to AFP. Nevada is a critical early primary state. Republicans hold its caucus on February 23, just after the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina contests.
The Nevada forum will focus on energy, an important issue to the Koch network, which wants to expand production of and access to oil and gas.
“Fiorina has consistently said that America has the means and know-how to be the ‘energy powerhouse of the 21st century,’ but ‘the government has become a crushing weight,’” a statement announcing the event first obtained by NBC News said.
“The Obama administration’s energy agenda sounds like obscure regulation on its face, but amounts to a federal takeover of the energy grid. This is an agenda that will have a serious impact on Americans, so we’re looking forward to revealing that on the national stage," Mark Lucas, the regional director for AFP who will be hosting the event, said.
Fiorina has seen two healthy bumps in the polls after strong debate performances but her support has waned each time. This event could help leverage Fiorina's support if she once again has a good debate night.
The Koch brothers have not yet said they would endorse or financially support a candidate in the primary, but they have indicated there are some candidates they like: Fiorina, Rubio, Cruz, Bush and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, according to Freedom Partners' spokesperson James Davis. (The Koch brothers also liked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker but he dropped out of the race already.) Front-runner Donald Trump and top-tier candidate Ben Carson are candidates that the Koch brothers are not interested in.