David Koch Praises Scott Walker But Says It's No Endorsement

The world’s fifth richest person has regularly donated to the Wisconsin governor.

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc., smiles as Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, not seen, speaks to the Economic Club of New York in New York, U.S., on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013

Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

As Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker moves toward a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, one of the world's wealthiest businessmen and biggest political influencers, David Koch, had high praise for him on Monday.

Inside a Manhattan fundraiser for the New York State Republican Party, Koch said he would support any Republican presidential nominee, “but it should be Scott Walker,” according to a report in the New York Times. His comments build on a history of affection for Walker, who has battled public unions and won three tough statewide elections in five years. 

The Koch family might personally offer financial support to a Walker bid, David Koch said, according to the Times report. David and Charles Koch are the fifth and sixth wealthiest people in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. 

David Koch added Monday night that he is not yet explicitly endorsing Walker, who has not made his presidential bid official.

“While I think Governor Walker is terrific, let me be clear, I am not endorsing or supporting any candidate for president at this point in time,” he said in a statement provided by a spokesman for Koch Industries.

Outside the New York Republican event, David Koch continued to talk up Walker, saying he would defeat Hillary Clinton, who is pursuing the Democratic nomination.

“You know, if enough Republicans have a thing to say, why, he’ll defeat her by a major margin,” he told a reporter, according to the Observer. “I thought he had a great message. Scott Walker is terrific and I really wish him all the best. He’s a tremendous candidate to be the nominee in my opinion.”

The Kochs' network of political and policy groups, which has a budget of more than $800 million for the 2016 elections, is unlikely to boost a candidate in the Republican primary, its leaders have said. David Koch's reported comments on Monday don't change that, a spokesman for one of the groups said. Still, led by Americans for Prosperity, the Koch network has spent millions of dollars to boost Walker over the years.  

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