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With Trump's Success, Koch Brothers Focus on Down-Ballot Races

After much speculation about the role the Koch brothers will play in this cycle’s presidential primary, they won't get involved at all.The day after f
Image: Ted Strickland
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland delivers the State of the State address to a joint session of the Ohio General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)Paul Vernon / AP

After much speculation about the role the Koch brothers will play in this cycle’s presidential primary, they are unlikely to get involved at all.

The day after front runner Donald Trump expanded his lead in the Republican presidential primary, winning four of five states, wealthy conservative activists Charles and David Koch are allocating their network’s financial resources on down-ballot races. Freedom Partners Action Fund is releasing a whopping $2 million television and digital ad buy in Ohio against former Gov. Ted Strickland who is running for the U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Republican Rob Portman.

This is the first day of the general election between Portman and Strickland and this is a significant amount of money on a negative ad that attempts to paint Strickland as bad for Ohio. It's also a sign into how much the Koch brothers could spend on on down-ballot races.

The Kochs do not support Trump and have contemplated spending money in an effort to defeat him. Instead they have stayed out of the race as Trump continues to win states and inch closer to clinching the nomination.

"We've got a strong ground game that we've been putting in place, and we've been building up our data capabilities and look forward to the general election," James Davis, spokesman for Freedom Partners, said in a recent interview.

The ad in Ohio features a former DHL employee who lost his job when it moved to Kentucky when Strickland was governor.

"While Ohio families were struggling, Strickland pushed through about 140 fee increases amounting to at least $1.5 billion on services ranging from hospitals and garbage disposal to birth and death certificates," a release about the ad notes.

The Koch donor network is ready to spend up to $250 million dollars on political work this election cycle.

While they didn't take a position on the primary, but one of their five favored candidates included Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Marc Short, president of Freedom Partners, left his position to be a senior adviser three weeks ago.

This story originally said that $400 million was to spent on political activity.