U.S. Chamber of Commerce political strategist Scott Reed told the New York Times Saturday that it was important to defeat Judge Roy Moore in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday to rebuke former White House adviser and Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon.
Reed, who is described by the Times‘ Jonathan Martin as “working with business leaders here to turn out votes for Mr. Strange,” said that a victory for appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange “would remind Bannon who’s in charge, and I think give the president and the governing wing of the party momentum. He added: “That’s why we’re going all in to shut it down now.”
Bannon, who is backing Moore’s insurgent campaign, is opposing his former boss, who is backing Strange. But the former CEO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and other Trump allies supporting Moore, say they are doing so to reinforce Trump’s original governing agenda against the Republican establishment that is trying to frustrate it.
Last week, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin and former White House foreign policy adviser Sebastian Gorka both rallied for Moore, with Palin declaring: “A vote for Judge Moore isn’t a vote against the president. It’s a vote for the people’s agenda that elected the president.” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also backed Moore on Friday — an unusual move that theoretically pits a sitting Cabinet member against his president.
Members of the Republican establishment are hoping that Strange can pull off a victory, despite flagging poll numbers, to discourage insurgent candidates in party primaries next year. “If Roy Moore wins, Bannon and all the other of those people will pop out of the woodwork everywhere,” Sen. Richard Shelby told the Times.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.