The Koch brothers, Charles (left) and David (right) of Koch Industries
John Chiasson/Liaison via Getty Images // Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Can Democrats make “Koch” happen?

Democrats have been making the case loud and clear that if Republicans are elected this November, they will be indebted to Washington special interests.  More specifically, they will owe the conservative Koch brothers, Charles and David, who are spending millions of their dollars helping GOP candidates this year.  

We’ve seen Democrats denounce the Koch brothers on the Senate floor, in Senate committee hearings, in campaign press releases, in television commercials and now we’re seeing it in debates. 

“On Election Day, I won’t owe President Obama anything,” said. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) who is running for U.S. Senate.  “And you’re going to owe the Koch brothers everything,” he told his Republican opponent, State Senator Joni Ernst. 

Democrats have made the Koch brothers a central theme of their midterm election strategy from the outset of the 2014 cycle and Ernst was prepared to respond.   

“You’re not running against any of these other people,” Ernst said.  ” I am a mother, I am a soldier, I am an independent leader.  So remember, please, you’re running against me.”

When Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan criticized Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Begich for supporting an amendment Sullivan said favored a top Begich campaign contributor, Begich took the opportunity to insert “Koch” into the discussion as well.  

“You haven’t said a word about the Koch brothers leaving dirty water in this state,” Begich fired back. “Why haven’t you said anything about the millions they pumped into your super PAC?”

But there’s little evidence to suggest voters will make up their minds based on the what the Washington Post referred to as “boogeyman politics.”  In an April NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, nearly half the country was unfamiliar with the Koch brothers. In a reference to the 2004 movie “Mean Girls”, Washington Post Political Reporter Jackie Kucinich told CNN’s John King, that the Democrats’ Koch brothers’ strategy wasn’t working.

“Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen,” said Kucinich.

Democrats will be making the case against the Kochs this week when U.S. Senate candidates in Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and West Virginia meet in more debate face-offs. Candidates in Virginia’s U.S. Senate contest meet on Tuesday, October 7th, for their second debate, in a forum hosted by moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd.