Bannon Backs Flake Challenger: ‘We’re Building A Grassroots Army’

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks at a rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Fairhope, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/AP

Continuing his campaign against the Republican elite, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon rallied for Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) front-running challenger Tuesday evening, telling the crowd of rightwing activists that GOP establishment is going to “reap the whirlwind” and “that whirlwind is Kelli Ward.”

Throwing his weight behind Ward, a former state senator, is just one of several moves Bannon vowed to make in his “war” against at least 15 Republicans — who he called the “new aristocracy” — whose seats are up for reelection in 2018.

“It’s an open revolt and it should be. … We’re building a grass-roots army,” Bannon said at Ward’s campaign kickoff, Arizona Central reported. “These people hold you in total contempt. When they attack a Donald Trump and a Dr. Kelli Ward, it’s not Donald Trump and Kelli Ward that they’re trying to shut up. It’s you they’re trying to shut up. … They think you’re a group of morons.”

Last month, the Bannon-supported, controversial former Alabama state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore beat out his incumbent challenger Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) — who President Donald Trump endorsed — in the Republican runoff primaries.

Flake is next on Bannon’s attack list.

The one-term senator is considered to be one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection after he refused to endorse or vote for Trump last year and published a book this summer criticizing Republicans for embracing Trump.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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