By Nicholas Confessore – – – –
Top supporters of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas held private meetings to sway potential new recruits at the annual winter conference hosted by Charles and David Koch, according to a participant.
The conference, which brings hundreds of right-leaning donors and philanthropists together each year in California, is the largest gathering of elite donors in the country, representing some of the deepest pockets in politics.
Paul Singer, a legendary billionaire investor and donor to the Kochs’ political network, hosted an event to pitch donors on Mr. Rubio, whom Mr. Singer endorsed in December. Doug Deason, a Dallas investor whose family is also active in the Koch-led political network, hosted an event aimed at bringing in help for Mr. Cruz.
Both candidates are among a handful of Republican contenders who have appeared at policy forums hosted by Americans for Prosperity and other issue organizations financed by the Kochs’ donor network.
Because it represents so many different donors with ties to a range of presidential candidates, the Kochs’ network has shied away from intervening more actively in the Republican primary campaign. But this weekend, according to the participant, officials with the Kochs’ political operation also began sounding out allied donors about a potential campaign against Donald J. Trump, whose evolving views on issues like corporate subsidies put him at odds with the Koch network’s own policy priorities.
No decision had been made about a potential anti-Trump effort, which was first reported by NBC.