Monday, November 6, 2017

Is S.C. next? Steve Bannon is trying to sway GOP primaries across the country

Since leaving White House, Bannon has waded into state-level politics

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 3:51 PM

click to enlarge Since leaving the White House, Breitbart executive Steve Bannon has been inserting himself into state-level GOP primaries - GAGE SKIDMORE/CC LICENSE
  • Gage Skidmore/CC License
  • Since leaving the White House, Breitbart executive Steve Bannon has been inserting himself into state-level GOP primaries
While he was President Donald Trump's close strategist, Steve Bannon fed news to Republican Party's biggest and most influential mouthpiece. Spurned by establishment figures within the White House and on the Hill, Bannon walked away from the West Wing over the summer and is now waging an anti-incumbent 'civil war' intent on upsetting the balance of power within the party.

The Citadel Republican Society will host Bannon at its annual fundraising dinner on Friday and Catherine Templeton, a former two-time agency director in the Haley administration who calls herself a "conservative outsider," will introduce him, says the AP.

Thus far, Bannon has been mostly involved in U.S. Senate races, but Templeton's brand of Republicanism — a first-time candidate fighting against the establishment — checks the boxes Bannon seems to be looking for when picking candidates.
click to enlarge Templeton will reportedly introduce Steve Bannon at the Citadel Republican Society's fundraising dinner on Friday - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Templeton will reportedly introduce Steve Bannon at the Citadel Republican Society's fundraising dinner on Friday
In just a few months, the Breitbart executive has already seen some successes in strikes against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In Alabama, Bannon-backed Judge Roy Moore won the GOP primary over a Trump-endorsed candidate to fill the seat left vacant by the appointment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In Wyoming, Bannon is backing Erik Prince, the millionaire founder of paramilitary contractor Blackwater and brother of billionaire Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Bannon has also put pressure on Senate incumbents in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Mississippi, Colorado, and Tennessee. Mid-term elections after the White House changes parties often prove to be tough for the new incumbent party, but some worry that an attack from Bannon within the party could drain GOP finances needed to fight Democratic challenges in the general election. At the same time, Democrats are apprehensive about a 'culture war' election that strays from issues, a Bannon specialty.

Bannon has not made any public statements about Templeton, who is running to unseat Gov. Henry McMaster, a Trump supporter, but yesterday Breitbart linked to a City Paper post reporting Templeton's complimentary words about Bannon. On conservative talk radio last week, Templeton said it was unfair to tie Bannon to "every word on Breitbart," but a Buzzfeed report last month detailed how Bannon personally directed subordinates to publish inflammatory stories driven by racial and cultural divisions. Templeton says she has kept in touch with Bannon since she met him while being vetted for the Trump cabinet earlier this year. She'll face off against McMaster and at least one other candidate in next summer's primary
Activist groups say they will protest Bannon's Charleston appearance this week. Rev. Jeremy Rutledge, also a CP columnist, said donations were being made for "every carload of people who arrive to see Bannon." The groups involved say money raised ahead of the event are set to be sent to local charities, Human Rights Watch, and Life After Hate.

Bannon is scheduled to speak Friday at the fundraising dinner hosted by the Citadel Republican Society. Tickets are still available for $76 a plate.

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