Bannon Gathers Donors as He Launches War on GOP Establishment

Bannon, car Brendan SmialowskiAFPGetty Images
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Frustrated with Republican incumbents’ inability to pass any significant legislation, the Republican donor class started meeting with Breitbart News Executive Chairman and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon over his plan to primary establishment Republicans.

Former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon met with notable Republican donors, many whom remain frustrated by the Republican establishment’s inability to pass significant legislation such as repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, and funding a southern border wall. The Republican donor class will consider backing Bannon’s campaign to challenge Senate Republican incumbents in the war against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Bannon reportedly is lining up a series of primary challengers whom he believes will back President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great American Alliance and ex-White House aide, told Breitbart News, “We’re planning on building a broad anti-establishment coalition to replace the Republican Party of old with fresh new blood and fresh new ideas.”

Surabian added, “The only thing the Republican establishment has succeeded in is clarifying to the American people that they don’t represent their interests,” Surabian added. “Their repeated failures to govern have only crystallized their lack of vision or backbone. The group of candidates we are looking to support in 2018 are all bound together in their agreement that the new Republican Party must be bold in their thinking and aggressive in their tactics.”

Bannon met with Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus; Marcus reportedly vented about his lack of return on investment in Senate Republicans. Marcus, in the last six months, donated $2 million to a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as tens of thousands of dollars to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), only to watch the Senate fail repeatedly.

Mitch McConnell recently folded under populist pressure and decided to extend the Senate’s workweek into Fridays and possibly even the weekend to fulfill the president’s agenda.

Bannon met with venture capitalist John Childs, who recently donated $400,000 to McConnell’s 2014 reelection. Bannon also discussed the 2018 mid-term elections with Gore-Tex heiress Susan Gore, a major backer of libertarian causes. The Breitbart News executive chairman huddled with Sheldon Adelson, one of the Republican party’s most prominent donors. Bannon also met with Eric Crown, the longtime backer of Senate GOP reelection efforts.

Marcus signaled that he is willing to back Senate Republican primary challengers, although he will give Republicans until the end of the year to pass significant legislation and then weigh his options.

Marcus’s adviser Steve Hantler said, “Like many donors, if the gridlock continues in Washington, Mr. Marcus will consider new approaches to breaking the gridlock, including those proposed by Steve Bannon and others.”

Asked if Marcus was willing to back primary challengers against Republican incumbents, Hantler replied, “You will have to draw your own conclusion.”

Bannon’ will pitch his 2018 midterm strategy against Republican incumbents to major donors in New York City on Wednesday.

Steve Bannon said last week at the Values Voter Summit, “Yeah, Mitch, the donors — the donors aren’t happy. They’ve all left you. We’ve cut your oxygen off, Mitch, OK? Money is not courageous, but money is smart, OK?”

Bannon also met with Wyoming investor Foster Friess, who remains so frustrated with the Republican establishment that he’s exploring a possible primary challenge to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

In October, Bannon discussed the midterm elections with Dan Eberhart, an energy executive who visited Washington D.C. for a Republican National Committee (RNC) donor conference. During the meeting, Bannon discussed his plans for promoting Republican challengers who would oppose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader.

Eberhart, a past National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) contributor who stopped donating to the Republican party, has spoken with Bannon twice already.

Eberhart vented his frustrations with the Republican party.

“I’m extremely frustrated with that whole complex,” Eberhart explained. “I feel like they’re asking us to reward failure.”

Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, told a group of RNC donors that they should withhold their donations and give to Republican primary challengers if Congress fails to pass the president’s agenda.

Ayers said, “Just imagine the possibilities of what can happen if our entire party unifies behind him? If — and this sounds crass — we can purge the handful of people who continue to work to defeat him.”

Louis Dejoy, a North Carolina business executive, who gave over $30,000 to the NRSC in 2017, said that although he will not bankroll Republican challengers to incumbents, the GOP donor class remains fed up the Republican Congress. Dejoy said, “I raise money, and I hear the frustration from everybody. Everybody knows the money is drying up.”


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