Top Koch Brothers Advisor Joins Marco Rubio’s Campaign

Top Koch brothers operative Marc Short announced that he will join Marco Rubio’s 2016 bid for the White House, reported the New York Times. Short currently heads the billion-dollar nonprofit group Freedom Partners, which oversees the donor network of brothers Charles and David Koch.

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“The development provides a potentially significant boost to Mr. Rubio, and comes as the political network established by the Kochs has been grappling with how to handle the swift rise of Donald J. Trump, who is leading the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.”

News of the move came last Tuesday after two people briefed about the impending move spoke to the press and Mark Holden, who serves the chairman of the board at Freedom Partners, told reporters that Short was a “valued leader,” who had “left behind a strong team.”

The move comes as further sign of the Koch brothers’ dismay at Trump’s success, after news broke that Koch groups have denied the surprising frontrunner access to the enormous data stores that fall under their dominion. According to Scott Reed, a top political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Short will bring deep knowledge of how to build a durable political infrastructure to Rubio’s campaign, and he also “knows the mood of the electorate, particularly primary voters.”

As two of America’s richest people, the Koch brothers each hold a fortune upwards of $40 billion – a number that, added together, would easily make them number one on the list, according to the Huffington Post. In fact, their combined $82 billion riches would put them more than $6 billion ahead of Bill and Melinda Gates who, unlike the Koch brothers, are in the process of donating the majority of their wealth to charity. Meanwhile the Kochs are pledging to spend up to $900 million to elect the next presidential candidate.

Although the Koch brothers and their cronies have been largely under the radar throughout the primaries so far – at least as far as the general public is concerned – the recent surprise shift by Short to Rubio’s campaign is a clear move to stop Trump from getting a thumbs up from the Republican establishment.

So what does this all mean for Marco Rubio and his chances at making a real bid for the White House in November? While it’s still too early to tell, the candidate now officially has access to the most money and the best data – no small thing with today’s media-fueled political climate and the money-centric political posturing that is permitted by law.

According to the Huffington Post, Koch brother-controlled groups have a “sophisticated databank of voter information that has been augmented with personal information gathered by campaigns and commercial groups.” This includes data about millions of American voters, making the Koch voter files one of the most sought after tools of any successful Republican campaign.

“The Koch brothers may have finally reverse engineered the American political process with enough precision and power to anoint their own presidential candidates and ensure his or her success.”

Marc Short has been involved in conservative politics for decades, having served as a former aide to Oliver North and running Mr. North’s military charity Freedom Alliance, reported The Washington Times. Short also managed the Reagan Ranch in California as part of the Young America’s Foundation.

“Charles and David Koch are among the wealthiest conservative businessmen with an interest in politics.”

Marco Rubio also won endorsements last week from ex-Senator Bob Dole and Republican Representative Peter King from Long Island.

[Photo by Spencer Platt / Getty Images]