Danny Tarkanian, an anti-establishment insurgent GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada, is stepping up to fight back against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s cronies and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) in their efforts to inaccurately smear former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon.
On Wednesday, the Senate Leadership Fund—a Super PAC affiliated with McConnell—bashed Bannon with a baseless fake news smear on Twitter in a tweet aimed at Tarkanian’s effort to push for fresh GOP leadership in the United States Senate.
— Senate Ldshp Fund (@Senate_Fund) October 25, 2017
The tweet contains a make-believe “pledge” that McConnell’s forces created to smear Bannon. It includes a fake news headline from the 2016 presidential campaign general election, when Bannon was CEO of now-President Donald Trump’s general election campaign, from the New York Daily News, falsely accusing Bannon of anti-Semitic viewpoints.
The piece was meant to boost Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for president against Trump in the general election when Bannon took the reins of the Trump campaign to help the now-president of the United States across the finish line. The New York Daily News, of course, went on to endorse Clinton against Trump in the general election.
“The Daily News again extends its wholehearted endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the newspaper that McConnell’s allies are now using to attack Bannon and Tarkanian wrote on Nov. 1, 2016, in its endorsement headlined: “Damn Right, We’re With Her!” It continued:
We do so with faith that Clinton would be a transformative leader for the good, far beyond making history as the first female President. And we do so with fact-based, fearful conviction that Donald Trump would lead a nation divided against itself, with catastrophic consequences at home and abroad. Lost in a campaign distorted by Trump’s ego-driven demagoguery is the indisputable truth that Clinton’s instincts, skills and programs are an excellent match for the challenges of a uniquely frightening American moment.
This is not the first time McConnell and his allies this year have thrown in with Hillary Clinton acolytes to attack Republicans with resources that could be used to focus on general elections in competitive senate races nationwide next year. Over in West Virginia, McConnell has been backing Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) for U.S. Senate in the GOP primary–despite the fact Jenkins is a recently converted Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008. Conservatives and most Republicans in West Virginia are supporting Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for U.S. Senate, who also proudly stands with Bannon against the McConnell swamp in Washington, D.C.
— AG Patrick Morrisey (@MorriseyWV) October 19, 2017
This new make-believe “pledge” against Bannon from McConnell’s allies at the Senate Leadership Fund on Wednesday—which falls in line with leftist and Democratic Party talking points, not Republican viewpoints, and is inaccurate—comes in response to a pledge Tarkanian signed against McConnell, one he is pushing for Heller to also agree to.
— Danny Tarkanian (@DannyTarkanian) October 23, 2017
Tarkanian told Breitbart News exclusively on Wednesday in response to the McConnell allies’ smears of Bannon that he stands with Bannon against McConnell and the political class in Washington, D.C.
“It has been three days since I challenged Dean Heller to sign the McConnell Replacement Pledge and he has refused thus far,” Tarkanian told Breitbart News. “I am proud to stand with my friend Steve Bannon and reject the McConnell hatchet-man’s attempts to smear him. Their efforts failed miserably in Alabama where they wasted $10 million attacking a conservative who – like me – pledged to oppose Mitch McConnell as majority leader. Their candidates in Tennessee and Arizona have dropped from the race and now the fight moves to Nevada. The only question remaining is whether Dean Heller is going to follow the Luther Strange model or the Corker-Flake model. Either way, I will ultimately vote to replace Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader.”
Also in response to this ploy from the McConnell-Heller forces, Andy Surabian of the pro-Trump group Great America Alliance hammered McConnell world for its desperation.
“These desperate and false personal attacks from Mitch McConnell and his cronies at the Senate Leadership Fund are further proof that McConnell Inc. is imploding in front of our very eyes,” Surabian, a former Trump White House official who served as Bannon’s deputy in the West Wing, told The Hill newspaper. “If Mitch McConnell truly cares about the Republican majority in the Senate, he would step down as majority leader today.”
Surabian also ran President Trump’s campaign war room, and was tasked with rapid response to attacks from Clinton’s campaign and the media.
Heller has been in a meltdown mode over Tarkanian’s call to replace McConnell, because Heller is closely aligned with the failed Senate Majority Leader. On Tuesday, Heller’s campaign blasted out a press release saying that Tarkanian did not always support replacing McConnell—which is true—but the press release does not say whether Heller himself supports replacing McConnell.
Heller’s campaign has not responded to multiple inquiries from Breitbart News on Tuesday and Wednesday as to whether the senator supports replacing McConnell as Senate Majority Leader. His campaign has also not responded to inquiries as to whether he personally approves of the baseless attacks against Bannon that the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund are now engaged in on his behalf.
This effort from the Senate Leadership Fund, which is run by Karl Rove acolyte Steven Law, seems to be something that will hurt Heller more than it will help him. In Alabama under Law’s stewardship, Senate Leadership Fund spent millions upon millions of dollars propping up failed establishment-appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) and attacking conservatives Judge Roy Moore and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) in the GOP senatorial primary and primary runoff. Strange ended up losing badly, despite all the money McConnell’s allies pushed into the race, which ended up backfiring. The Senate Leadership Fund became a major story in the election, and its advertisements and attacks first on Brooks then on Moore ended up only helping Moore beat Strange.