A U.S. Senate candidate in California is challenging billionaire businessmen David and Charles Koch, owners of Wichita-based Koch Industries, to a fistfight.
“There’s a lot of candidates who talk about fighting money in politics, but there’s only one who is training right now to literally fistfight the Koch brothers,” says Matt Lieb in a makeshift training room depicted in a campaign video.
That man is Mike Beitiks, a bearded 32-year-old Californian running for an open U.S. Senate seat in that state. He faults David and Charles Koch, ages 75 and 80, for funding “efforts to undermine climate change legislation in America.”
“Do I think it’s a good idea? No, I mean definitely not,” Beitiks said in the video, reported by the Sacramento Bee. “But you’re talking about a huge obstacle to effective climate legislation on the federal level. What other option does a person like me have?”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Representatives of Koch Industries did not return calls.
Do I think it’s a good idea? No, I mean definitely not. But you’re talking about a huge obstacle to effective climate legislation on the federal level. What other option does a person like me have?
Mike Beitiks, U.S. Senate candidate in California
The video depicts Beitiks training on the California coastline by running, lifting rocks, biking in place and doing other exercises. Lieb acts as his “trainer,” preparing him for a potential fight.
Beitiks is running an independent campaign about a single issue: legislation to combat climate change caused by manmade carbon emissions.
In a statement online, he admits the idea is “stupid” but says he “reluctantly” wants to fight the Koch brothers. It adds that the video is also a call for more voter participation in politics.
“The Kochs are worth a lot more money than you or I are,” Beitiks said. “But they haven’t figured out how to literally buy our votes out of the process. Yet.”
The video also shows Beitiks hitting a punching bag that his trainer says is full of Ayn Rand novels bought from Amazon. “There’s a couple different levels of free-market economics in that bad boy,” Lieb says.
“When the day comes and we see both those dudes, cause they hang out together, we got to be ready to pounce,” he said.
Lieb lists five rules for the proposed duel, three of which have to do with money being used to get out of the fight or pay for others to fight instead of the Kochs.
“It’s a very important rule because we’ve trained to fight two senior citizens,” Lieb said.
The other rules say the fight must be three 90-second rounds and include 14-ounce gloves at all times.
The two-and-a-half-minute video ends with a disclaimer: “Paid for by Beatikis’ money that could have gone to carbon reduction.”