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Billionaire-backed Koch network endorses Nikki Haley for president

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley listens as she is introduced during a campaign stop in Hooksett, New Hampshire, U.S., November 20, 2023. 

Brian Snyder | Reuters

The political network largely financed by billionaire Charles Koch endorsed Nikki Haley for president Tuesday, boosting her primary campaign against the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.

The Haley endorsement by the Koch backed Americans for Prosperity Action marks the end of a yearlong search for a viable Republican alternative to challenge Trump.

Haley “has what it takes to lead a policy agenda to take on our nation’s biggest challenges and help ensure our country’s best days are ahead,” the group said in a memo. “With the grassroots and data capability we bring to bear in this race, no other organization is better equipped to help her do it.”

The network has massive resources, and it said that it is prepared to deploy them to boost Haley and to challenge Trump’s increasingly tight grip on his party’s presidential nominating contest.

Americans for Prosperity Action, the Koch backed super PAC, has already spent millions of dollars so far bashing Trump this cycle, arguing that he would lose a general election to President Joe Biden.

Charles Koch, head of Koch Industries.

Bo Rader | Wichita Eagle | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

In addition to an army of volunteers and staff across the country, the PAC has already raised over $70 million in the 2024 election cycle. Charles Koch himself has an estimated net worth of more than $50 billion, according to Forbes.

The alliance with Haley also marks the latest phase in the on again, off again relationship between the former president and the larger Koch network.

During Trump’s first term in office, the Koch aligned groups scored several policy victories, including tax cuts and the confirmation of three conservative Supreme Court justices. The network traditionally backs Republican candidates.

But Koch’s groups have also had their differences with the former president, including fierce opposition to Trump’s trade war with China.

Trump, likewise, has used the Koch network as a proverbial punching bag over the years, claiming that its founders represent precisely the kind of “globalist” elites who Trump’s MAGA movement followers despise.

Trump famously laced into the Kochs in a 2018 tweet storm, saying they had become a “total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade.”

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

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