Iowa candidate: Koch backing 'like being endorsed by Charles Manson'
February 6th, 2014
03:18 PM ET
9 years ago

Iowa candidate: Koch backing 'like being endorsed by Charles Manson'

(CNN) - Elections in Coralville, Iowa, a town of about 20,000, took a big city turn when the billionaire Koch brother's group, Americans for Prosperity, jumped into last year's mayoral and city council race.

"It was kind of like being endorsed by Charles Manson," is how Chris Turner, a fiscally conservative city council candidate, described the support by AFP to "The Daily Show's" Jason Jones.

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Turner said in the segment that aired Wednesday that the group's tactics against his opponent were "reprehensible."

"It put me in a very awkward position," he said, adding later that he tied for last place in the election.

The New York Times reported on the powerful conservative political group's ambitions in the small, Midwest town days before the election last November, when AFP was mounting an aggressive campaign against the now-Mayor John Lundell using direct mail attacks, advertising and phone calls to voters.

Lundell, who won with 65% of the vote, told Jones that AFP's attacks were "full of very misleading, I would call lies," including allegations that he manipulated his property taxes.

"I've been through several elections and I welcome opponents but they brought an air of ugliness to this campaign that is not the way we run our government in Coralville," he said.

The Koch brother's group's attacks also warned that Coralville, where the city's debt was a major issue in the campaign, would become the next Detroit.

But not everyone was put-off by the outside influence.

Matthew Vadum, a conservative author who "The Daily Show" labeled as a "political insider," said to sell a point of view, sometimes you have to employ a bit of "salesmanship."

"Some man's sleaze is another man's class," he said. "You have to have a little bit of showbiz."

AFP's attacks didn't get the group far in Coralville. The Daily Show segments notes that none of the Koch group-backed candidates won in the Iowa race.

Filed under: Americans for Prosperity • Iowa
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Sounds more like how Democrats behave. Totally corrupt.

    February 6, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "Looks like CNN's liberal machine is very scared of the Koch brothers and so they use a disgruntled loser conservative to snark the opposition"

    Are you shrooming? That "disgruntled loser conservative" WAS ENDORSED BY THE KOCH BROTHERS. He's saying he lost partly BECAUSE OF THEM...because their groups' tactics and their lying and their underhanded BS turned the public off. He's not mad because the Koch brothers and AFP didn't help him. He's mad because their "help" was more like poison.

    February 6, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. John M

    Don't drink the Koch!

    February 6, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Jme

    The Koch brothers rock.

    February 6, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. William

    The truth is that almost every stupid lie that has been told about George Soros is actually true of the Koch brothers, they really are almost as dangerous as the evil geniuses that James Bond faces in the movies.

    February 6, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. luvUamerica

    Campaign reform. This is what you got.

    February 6, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Flabergaster

    Koch brothers better make all the hay they can, not much time left for them.

    February 6, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Judge Dredd

    I love you liberals taking shots at people who are successful. Take a look at how much David Koch has donated to Hospitals and Medical research facilities all around the country. He has donated over $200 Million to these facilities. How much have you liberals donated? None, that is what I thought. It's guys like him that donate money for buildings so they can save your candy asses when you get hurt in one of your cute little demonstrations.

    February 6, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. KBNJ

    On one side you have two U.S. businessmen who employ more than 50,000 people. You may not agree with all of their politics or ideals – I don't – but they're BUILDING things and EMPLOYING people in THIS country.
    On the other side you have a guy who is "the man who broke the Bank of England", has single-handedly destroyed the economies of several countries (Malaysia, Thailand and others) to enrich himself, and was convicted of insider trading in France. And yes, Soros has done some good things also.

    Who do YOU want financing the party of your choice? Who do YOU believe has the best interests of THIS country in mind?

    February 6, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Dean

    Wondering how many jobs Koch brothers create. And unlike Obama's jobs czar, Immelt, they don't ship them all to China.

    February 6, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. lame

    money corrupts exponentially...
    the very ones calling Obama names are of course the slime...

    February 6, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Chuckme

    Get Big $$$ out of politics!

    February 6, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Jason Abbadon

    If this group's tactics are this bad at a small town level, what can we really expect at the state and national levels?
    Not that being sleezey in a political campaign should warrant comparison with an insane serial killer- but then, that same "salesmanship" the political hack refered to can sell ratings and can get people to click on articles...

    February 6, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. DustyOnes

    ...and Soros is like Jeffery Dahmer

    February 6, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Fred G. Sanford

    Manson couldn't possibly have done as much damage to this country as the Koch brothers.

    February 6, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Leigh

    It's kind of funny watching conservatives eat their own.

    February 6, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Tommy

    Right wing republicans simply being right wing republicans: LOSING!

    February 6, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. Minnesotan

    Personally, I liken the Koch Brothers more to Ed Gein.... slicing, sewing and devouring the objects of their unholy lust.

    February 6, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. DustyOnes

    The Koch brothers are not the largest conservative donor.But, he is a Jew and it is not PC to bash him.

    February 6, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Name. G

    The Kook brothers have manipulated laws wherein they are able to sell to Iran parts for its future nuclear weapons. That's their brand of conservatism.

    February 6, 2014 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Norm

    Way to go CNN!! Reporting on an election that's been over for months and was covered by... get this.... THE DAILY SHOW!!

    Please liberals... for the love of tap dancing Moses hear these words: THE DAILY SHOW IS NOT NEWS!! ITS A COMEDY SHOW!! PLEASE STOP BASING YOUR WORLDVIEW ON JOKES!

    February 6, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. jim

    The Koch brothers are simply the Democrats' Emmanuel Goldstein. It's bizarre, because the Kochs support gay marriage and give millions to the arts. Nice try, liberals, but they aren't bad people.

    February 6, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Anataxis

    Say what you want about the Koch brothers, but don't call them stupid- they both have Master's Degrees in Chemical Engineering from MIT.

    They aren't as retrogressive as people would like to think- they support gay marriage, for example. They are more like libertarians rather than typical "conservatives".

    February 6, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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