Americans for Prosperity, a fake grassroots (“astroturf”) group funded by the Koch Brothers, is known for spending lavishly on Republican candidates who will enact their pro-corporate, anti-worker policy agenda of dirty energy, union-busting and tax cuts. Despite recent rumblings they’re unhappy with Trump’s trade policies and may sit out some US Senate races, they’re still singularly focused of installing solid GOP majorities in Congress and state legislatures.
Ohio is no exception, and this week we learned the Koch group will put money into six state legislative races—all of which Democrats have a chance to swing out of Republican hands. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the group “will utilize canvassing, phone banking and direct mail to assist the candidates.”
Here are the races AFP is targeting:
- Against Democrat and local City Year executive Phil Robinson in Cuyahoga County’s 6th House District, AFP will be going to bat for former ECOT lobbyist and lawmaker Jim Trakas. (read more of our coverage of Ohio’s 6th District)
- To stop educator Mary Lightbody in suburban Franklin County’s 19th House District, AFP is backing Tim Barhorst an insurance agent backed by the Larry Householder money machine.
- To combat Democrat councilman and Air Force veteran Casey Weinstein’s challenge to GOP supremacy in the 37th House District, AFP is supporting Republican Mike Rasor, a hard-line social conservative anti-abortion candidate.
- In Montgomery County, the AFP is backing tea party conservative Todd Smith in his race against Democratic County Commissioner Dan Foley for the 43rd House district.
- AFP is also coming to the rescue of term-limited State Rep Andrew Brenner in his bid for the 19th Senate District. Brenner has had lackluster fundraising and spent all his cash on hand in the primary, and has lost his main corporate backer in Bill Lager with the demise of ECOT. He faces a serious challenge from pro-public education marketing executive, Louise Valentine. (read more of our coverage of Ohio’s 19th Senate District)
- And to oppose attorney Adam Van Ho’s challenge in the 27th Senate seat, the Koch group is backing Kristina Roegner, a union-busting State Representative who’s trying to make a leap to an open Senate seat.
AFP’s entry into these statehouse races only confirms what we already knew: those Republican-held seats are up for grabs in November.