With a net worth of approximately $34 billion, Koch is ranked by Forbes to be the fourth most-wealthy American. Executive VP of Koch Industries, a conglomerate affiliated with paper, chemicals and oil, he’s better known for political activism and special-interest lobbying.
An apparent basis for his support of Sanford in this special election, the two agree on many political principals.
For example, Koch is a board member of the libertarian Cato Institute. In 1980, he was vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, running on a platform that called for elimination of Social Security, minimum wage and corporate taxes.
In his own political career, Sanford openly identified with the movement, calling his identification as a libertarian “a badge of honor.” In his previous term in U.S. Congress (1995-2001), he voted against strengthening Social Security and sponsored a bill for its privatization.
Both also have affiliation with the Tea Party. Koch is an original founder of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization affiliated with creation of the organization by its partner group, FreedomWorks. He’s also credited with providing ample funding to the Tea Party movement.
Columbia’s The State newspaper says Sanford was a “Tea Party frugal before it was politically fashionable,” and The Daily Beast says he “was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.”
The South Carolina Libertarian Party, which has no candidate in this race, also identifies with the Tea Party movement, using the “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden Flag in the header logo of its website.
Other notable donors to Sanford’s campaign include Thomas Ravenel, who then-governor Sanford suspended from the state treasurer’s office in 2007 after federal indictment on cocaine charges, and billionaire hedge fund investor Richard Chilton.
Sanford is one of 16 Republican candidates in this special election to fill the 1st District seat, which has remained empty since January when Tim Scott assumed Jim DeMint’s senate office following resignation.
The primary race is March 19; the victor of an anticipated April 2 GOP runoff will face the Democratic candidate in a May 7 final election.