Randy Kendrick, an influential conservative donor based in Arizona, is rallying other wealthy contributors to finance a last-ditch campaign against GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, saying she has been appalled by his incendiary remarks about immigrants and his reluctance to denounce white supremacists in a television interview last month.
Kendrick, who is active in the Koch political network and is the wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, said in an interview that she was moved to act by the accumulation of Trump’s provocative rhetoric. The final straw, she said, was the way he handled a question about former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on the eve of the March 1 Super Tuesday contests.
“That was just a dog whistle to racists before the southern primaries,” she said, adding: “Dictators arose because good people did not stand up and say, ‘It’s wrong to scapegoat minorities.’ This is threatening to the fabric of our country.”
Kendrick said she and her husband have made a “significant” donation to Our Principles, a super PAC formed in January that is now running an intense ad campaign against Trump. That makes them the second Major League Baseball owners to support the organization, which received its initial $3 million from Marlene Ricketts, the matriarch of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs.
More important than her donation, Kendrick said, is that she is mobilizing her network, which includes prominent conservative donors nationwide. Many of them are members of Freedom Partners, a nonprofit business chamber that functions as the financing arm of the political network started by billionaires Charles and David Koch.
“I am putting my time and effort into it, which is much harder than to write a check,” she said. “I am calling everybody who has ever said anything to me about being horrified with Trump. I’m saying, ‘There is actually a vehicle so people know more about this man.’ I think there are a lot of facts out there in the public domain, but they are not well known.”
It remains to be seen what impact the late push-back against Trump will have. It was not until early this year that major donors engaged with the effort.
Kendrick, who acknowledges that it may be too late to stop Trump’s path to the Republican nomination, said that top contributors did not jump in earlier because most believed the real estate tycoon would falter on his own.
“I think most people thought that he would reveal himself in a way that did himself in,” she said. “Everybody thought the next remark would be the thing. We’re waking up to the reality of the threat to our values.”
“It won’t be popular for us to come out and point out these things,” Kendrick added. “That’s okay. We have kids, and some fights are worth having. You can say, ‘I stood up for the right thing, for my values and my beliefs.’ There is no way we keep our soul and not stand up and say, ‘This is wrong.’ ”