Conservative megadonors Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers and Donald Trump aren’t stopping with their efforts to swing the presidential election. Now, they’re shoveling cash into down-ticket races. Their big checks have helped state-focused GOP groups more than double the cash haul of their Democratic counterparts and open up another front that could help Mitt Romney beat President Barack Obama.Many of the hottest gubernatorial and legislative races are in key presidential election states, including North Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, and the increased activity could add attention to conservative policies on critical issues like government spending, labor rights, voter access, gay rights and immigration, and could help tip the scales in Romney’s favor. Negative ads against the Democrats won’t hurt either.
“I think that you’ll see amazingly the same swing counties and swing precincts that will determine the outcome of the presidential race will also be determining the outcome of state legislative races — whether it’s suburban Columbus, Ohio, or the Orlando area in Florida,” said Chris Jankowski, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Big conservative donors see the down ticket races as a wise investment. Billionaire industrialist David Koch and Koch Industries — the multinational firm he runs with his brother Charles — have given more than $2 million to the Republican Governors Association this year, making them the group’s top donor, according to federal filings and the Center for Responsive Politics. Koch Industries has also donated more than $125,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee this cycle.