The conservative donor network founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch says it is entering the 2024 Republican presidential primary in an effort to “turn over a new leaf” and “write a new chapter for our country.”
In a memo released Sunday, Americans for Prosperity said it would support more candidates in light of the GOP’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections.
“The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who support things that go against basic American principles. And the American people are rejecting them,” wrote the group’s CEO, Emily Seidel.
Seidel said Americans for Prosperity seeks to endorse a candidate in the 2024 GOP presidential primary “who can lead our country forward and who can win.”
“So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter,” Seidel wrote. “The American people have shown they are ready to move forward, and so AFP will help them do that.”
The AFP memo doesn’t directly mention former President Donald Trump, but it comes months after disappointing performances by Trump-endorsed candidates in the 2022 midterm elections cost GOP seats in major state swing races.
The AFP’s decision to get involved in the GOP primary marks a significant shift in strategy after missing the two most recent White House nomination battles.
Trump and the AFP have clashed in recent years after Charles Koch refused to spend the network’s money to influence the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor.
After Trump took office, top AFP leaders in 2018 vented about their frustrations with the direction of the Republican Party during Trump’s presidency as they attempted to rebrand the organization by vowing to be less partisan and work with elected officials across the political spectrum to advance their political priorities.
In a series of tweets in 2018, Trump hit back at the group Koch backed for saying he would distance himself from the then president and other prominent Republicans who don’t support their agenda. “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in true republican circles, are against strong borders and powerful trade. I’ve never sought their support as I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Trump tweeted.
Tensions between Trump and AFP were also prevalent during the 2022 midterm election cycle, with Trump’s and AFP’s respective candidates clashing in the race for governor of Nebraska and the congressional races of Michigan and South Carolina .
The influential Club for Growth, which had previously sided with Trump, and other major donors have also distanced themselves from the former president. The group clashed with Trump in the 2022 midterm backing several candidates in the Ohio and Pennsylvania Senate primaries. In an interview with Axios last month, Club for Growth president David McIntosh said that “it’s time for a new standard bearer who believes and will fight for free market principles” and that the group is “just focused on different things ” compared to Trump.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com