Politics

Koch Group Declines to Back Republican Cramer in North Dakota Senate Race

Americans for Prosperity will not be spending to support the GOP lawmaker

Americans for Prosperity will not be spending in support of North Dakota GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer’s bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A conservative group affiliated with billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch will not be spending to support Rep. Kevin Cramer in the North Dakota Republican’s bid for Senate, the organization announced Monday. 

Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, said at a Koch network summit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that the group would not be backing Cramer because he did not align with its policy positions. It would not back Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp either.

The Koch network didn’t see either candidate as a champion on their policy issues, an AFP spokesperson told Roll Call.

Phillips told reporters present at the Colorado Springs summit for top conservative donors that Cramer has proved to be “inconsistent across the board” on key policy issues. That includes trade and immigration, according to reports, including from USA Today.

“I respect the decision by the KOCH Network to not engage in the North Dakota Senate race,” Cramer said in a statement. “As I have always said, I work for the people of North Dakota and will always vote with them in mind. That is why I supported tax cuts, jobs creation, patient centered healthcare, strong borders, free, fair and reciprocal trade, and a strong military and veterans’ care.”

“My voting record may not be exactly what every national organization wants, but it is exactly what the majority of North Dakotans expect,” Cramer said.

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GOP donor Dan Eberhart, a summit attendee who is backing Cramer, said he would continue to support the North Dakota Republican.

“Cramer has been a consistent supporter of those working in North Dakota’s energy sector to deliver the oil and gas that has revitalized America’s economy,” Eberhart said in an email, adding that the congressman is also “committed to President Trump’s agenda.”

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the North Dakota Senate race Tilts Republican.

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