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The Koch brothers are ditching support of Trump to try and save the Senate


The Koch brothers are ditching support of Trump to try and save the Senate

WATCH:  Americans for Prosperity explain why they aren't supporting the GOP nominee Donald Trump

Winning the White House not likely for GOP

This November, Republicans skeptical about GOP nominee Donald Trump are keeping  up hopes of retaining control of the Senate, despite the fact that the Democrats are favored to take it back.

It won't be an easy fight.  Billionaires Charles and David  Koch know this, and that's why their political non-profit,  Americans for Prosperity (AFP), is ditching support for Trump and instead is supporting key Senate races.

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AFP is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads and to organize volunteers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Nevada, and Indiana, to protect embattled Republican seats and to push its free-market, low-tax agenda.

Given our role... we think our best way to make a difference is on the United States Senate.
AFP president Tim Phillips

"We had looked very closely at getting involved, but again we don't think that given our role, given the issues that are important us and our infrastructure, we think our best way to make a difference [is] in the United States Senate," AFP president Tim Phillips told Circa.

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Senate Republicans are fighting to maintain their five-seat majority in the Senate. Republicans have 24 Senate seats up for grabs, and seven of those seats are in states that President Obama won twice.

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Democrats are defending just nine seats, and none of them are in states Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won during the last presidential race in 2012.

He's behind by significant numbers, so it does create some headwinds in all candor.
AFP president Tim Phillips

Despite new polling showing the gap between Clinton and Trump closing, others like the Washington Post/Survey Monkey poll and the Economist/YouGov show that he's down, which is bad news for senators up for re-election.

Wasted Money

In 2012, AFP deployed hundreds of field staffers, thousands of volunteers and ran television as well as digital ads. In all, they spent more than $120 million trying to defeat Obama. Romney still lost.

This year, Trump gets nothing. Instead, most funds will go to keep the political power they've built in the Senate.

Governance fellow John Hudak, with the Brookings Institution, told Circa: "That's probably the Republicans' only hope... that AFP can have a real disruptive effect within Senate races."

Increasing turnout is key

AFP is focusing on turning out Republican voters who might not be compelled to show up and vote because Trump is on the ballot.

"AFP can overcome the headwinds the Trump campaign may create by being able to distinguish those candidates from the presidential candidate," said Hudak.

"To show that there is a different part of the Republican party other than Trump that wants different things, that pushes different ideas, that chases different priorities, and that these are the candidates who are going to go to Washington and help achieve those outcomes."

Deliver a strong message voter-to-voter, and also over the airwaves that lays out the issue differences.
AFP president Tim Phillips

To show voters the difference between Trump and the Senate Republicans, AFP is focusing on policy over personality.

"There has been so much personality based politics over the last year or so," Phillips told Circa.

AFP is playing the long game

Ditching the top of the ticket appears to be the only option for conservatives this year, but AFP is playing the long game.

"People love to take whatever the next election is and they love to say 'The very fate of Western civilization depends on this election.' The truth is, it's not. We are building for the long-term."

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