Having successfully led a campaign to elect Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in his primary runoff against the GOP establishment candidate Luther Strange, former Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has now set his sights on Jeff Flake's Arizona Senate seat. At a kickoff rally for Flake's Republican primary opposition, Dr. Kelli Ward, Bannon said that the Republican establishment, led by Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Bob Corker are actively "trying to destroy him everyday." More from The Hill:
Former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon attacked top Republicans at a primary campaign rally Tuesday, accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP leaders of "trying to destroy him every day," according to the Associated Press.
Bannon also targeted Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) in his speech at a campaign fundraiser for Kelli Ward, a primary challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is one of the many incumbent Republicans that Bannon is targeting in 2018.
The former strategist for President Trump has announced plans for open war against GOP lawmakers who do not completely support Trump's agenda and his intention to back candidates challenging each Senate Republican except for Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“It’s an open revolt and it should be. These people hold you in total contempt," Bannon said at the campaign kickoff event. "When they attack a Donald Trump and Dr. Kelli Ward, it's not Donald Trump and Kelli Ward they're trying to shut up, it's you they're trying to shut up," he said.
Of course, it's not as if Bannon isn't actively trying to return the favor. In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Bannon doubled down on his previously announced "war on the Republican establishment" vowing to, among other things, "challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz" in the upcoming mid-term election cycle.
100%. We are declaring war on the Republican establishment that does not back the agenda that Donald Trump ran on and the president of the United States, and that's the agenda we know that backs the working men and women...
Karl Rove, Steven Law, these guys should get the joke. Their donors are coming to us because they are tired of having their money burned up by trying to destroy people like Judge Moore. It's a new game in town. We are going to cut off the oxygen to Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell's biggest asset is the money. We're going to make it the biggest liability. We're going after these guys tooth and nail.
They have to understand. There's a basic agenda that President Trump rand on and won. He carried states that Republicans haven't carried in living memory -- Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. This agenda works. The American people voted for it. It's their responsibility.
There's a coalition coming together. It's going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz. Whether it's Utah, Wyoming, whether it's in Oregon.
These names are all going to come out in the next several weeks.
Despite early polling showing that his popularity has waned during his feud with Trump, Flake says that he's not terribly worried about the matchup with Kelli Ward.
Flake, a vocal opponent of Trump's populist agenda, told the Associated Press that he was not concerned with a primary defeat."
"I've had tough primaries almost every time I've run, mostly because of the position I've taken on immigration," a hardline issue for both Trump and Bannon. "People say, 'Well I can get to the right of Jeff on immigration.' But we came out all right."
No matter the outcome, one thing is certain...the 2018 mid-term election cycle will be unlike any in history.