The Koch brothers continue to be an issue on the GOP side of the Florida Governor’s race for a second straight week, with the Adam Putnam campaign again pillorying U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for accepting their support.
Conceivably, this argument could be used by Putnam in the final debate with DeSantis on Wednesday night in Jacksonville.
A fiery news release from Putnam spokesperson Meredith Beatrice asks, “Is D.C. DeSantis taking Koch money illegally in an attempt to hide his support for weak borders and anti-American trade policy?”
“The anti-Trump, open-border Koch group backing D.C. DeSantis isn’t reporting the source of $300K in contributions. This appears to be another attempt from D.C. DeSantis to cover up his betrayal of President Trump,” according to the Putnam campaign, which spotlights a POLITICO report.
The issue: The Koch network is funding a direct mail campaign on DeSantis’ behalf, but not disclosing the source of $300,000 in contributions.
“D.C. DeSantis is choosing to to be a puppet of the open-border, anti-Trump Koch brothers and turning his back on President Trump who recently slammed the Koch brothers, calling them a ‘total joke’ and saying they are ‘against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade,’ ” the Putnam camp charges.
The Putnam camp’s attack on the Kochs started last week, as President Donald Trump came to Florida to stump for DeSantis, but not before attacking the Kochs on Twitter.
DeSantis, who worked hard for the Kochs’ backing even before getting into the Governor’s race (winning the unofficial Koch primary against Putnam endorser Richard Corcoran), had already been endorsed by the network, with direct mail in the works even then, even as the Republican National Committee urged donors to divest from Koch efforts as the Kochs and the President continue to feud publicly.
Putnam’s camp wondered: “Is DeSantis happy to accept millions from people against strengthening our borders and negotiating powerful trade deals?”
The rhetoric has been ratcheted up … at least in news releases.
In stump remarks, Putnam has avoided mentioning the Kochs, preferring to aim at left-wing billionaires George Soros and Tom Steyer, who are playing on the Democratic side of the race on behalf of Andrew Gillum.
Team Putnam’s argument against unsourced “dark money” contributions has cropped up on the Democratic side as well, with Gwen Graham bristling at attacks levied against her on behalf of Gillum by the Collective PAC.