The conservative donor network founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch says it is wading into the 2024 Republican presidential primaries in an effort “to turn the page” and “write a new chapter for our country.”
In a memo released Sunday, Americans for Prosperity said it will endorse more candidates in light of the GOP’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections.
“The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles. And the American people are rejecting them,” the group's CEO, Emily Seidel, wrote.
Seidel said Americans for Prosperity looks to support a candidate in the 2024 GOP presidential primaries “who can lead our country forward, and who can win.”
“So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter,” Seidel wrote. “The American people have shown that they’re ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that.”
AFP’s memo, which does not directly mention former President Donald Trump, comes months after the disappointing performances of Trump-endorsed candidates in the 2022 midterm elections cost the GOP seats in key swing-state races.
The AFP’s decision to get involved in the GOP primaries marks a significant shift in strategy after it sat out the two most recent White House nomination battles.
Trump and the AFP have butted heads in recent years after Charles Koch refused to spend the network’s money to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.
After Trump entered office, top leaders of the AFP in 2018 vented about their frustrations with the direction of the Republican Party as they tried to rebrand the organization by vowing to be less partisan and to work with elected officials across the political spectrum to advance their policy priorities.
In a series of tweets in 2018, Trump fired back at the Koch-backed group for saying it would distance itself from him and other top Republicans who didn’t support their agenda. “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Trump tweeted.
Tensions between Trump and the AFP were prevalent throughout the 2022 midterm election cycle, as well, with Trump and the AFP's respective candidates duking it out in the Nebraska governor’s race and in congressional races in Michigan and South Carolina.
The influential Club for Growth, which previously aligned itself with Trump, and other major donors also have distanced themselves from him. The group clashed with Trump in the 2022 midterms by backing different candidates in the Ohio and Pennsylvania Senate primaries. In an interview with Axios last month, Club for Growth President David McIntosh said that “it’s time for a new standard bearer that believes and will fight for free-market principles” and that the group is “just focused on different things” compared to Trump.