Short hits: The Koch brothers’ hostile takeover and promises of a negative Maine Senate campaign

With time short, here’s two stories, in brief:

1. The Koch Brothers have been much in the news for their funding of Super PACs and conservative advocacy organizations. Now they’re attempting a hostile takeover of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank. This would mean shifting the group from doing intellectually honest research motivated by libertarian concerns to a group devoted to churning out products aimed at helping Republicans and the policy views of the Kochs.

Want to know more?

Read this piece by Jonathan Adler for background, including quotes from inside the Cato Institute.

Read Ezra Klein on the intellectual honesty of the Cato Institute compared to places like the Heritage Foundation and what will be lost in such a takeover.

2. Matthew Gagnon says Angus King’s Senate run won’t be “a coronation” and predicts a very negative campaign.

As he is a seasoned Republican campaign operative and strategist who worked with the Maine Republican party’s 2010 congressional candidates, we can only trust that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to what Republicans will do. Indeed, they do not want to lose that seat and we can expect a very negative tone from Republican Super PACs and perhaps the nominee’s campaign as well.

But it’s highly unlikely Democrats will go there.

As GOP Chair Charlie Webster stated, their chances of winning the seat depend on splitting the vote. After the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Democrats will be loathe to do anything to let a Republican, particularly a conservative Republican, win a three way race. That motive impelled Rep. Chellie Pingree not to run for Senate and it is an exceedingly strong sensibility among Maine Democrats.

Democrats would love to win the seat and their nominee will talk about Democratic ideas, but the campaign will not be aimed at bringing down King.

So while ads with grainy footage and gravelly voices will be run against Angus King, it’s most likely these will come from supporters of the Republican candidate. And some may not look like they’re from conservatives or won’t disclose who they’re from  — like those out-of-state funded ads from a group that opposed restoring election day registration.

And now we see it: The Republicans go negative on King right away

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Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.