The pro-Trump super PAC, Great America PAC, has thrown its weight behind former State Sen. Kelli Ward in Arizona’s U.S. Senate race next year and behind businessman Kevin Nicholson in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race next year.
“Great America PAC is building the ‘Trump Ticket’ for 2018 and we are proud to support these candidates who have answered the call of their fellow citizens,” Ed Rollins, Great America PAC’s chief strategist, said in a press release on Tuesday.
Americans are tired of the inaction from the Washington swamp and demand Senate Republicans get off their backsides and pass President Trump’s America First agenda. Just as we did for President Trump in 2016, our big blue bus will be rolling across this great country to get these candidates elected so together we can make America great again.
The group is closely aligned with the America First movement, as ex-White House aide Andy Surabian—who served as Breitbart News executive chairman and former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s deputy during their time in the White House—is a senior adviser to the organization. Rollins is a longtime conservative leader, having worked closely with President Ronald Reagan’s campaigns and helped with electing Trump in 2016 as the group he now helms raised $30 million to boost the president against failed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton last year.
The endorsement of Ward comes in a contentious primary in Arizona, as the doctor and former state senator—who challenged Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) last year—faces off next year against Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Flake is a vehemently anti-Trump Republican who even wrote a book about why he opposes the president.
The Nicholson endorsement comes in an open primary where establishment forces in Wisconsin are coalescing behind state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who happens to also be a conservative with backing from the establishment. The winner will face entrenched Democrat incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in a state President Donald Trump flipped to vote Republican in last year’s presidential election for the first time in decades.
Bannon has met with Ward and Nicholson, and both are the clear anti-establishment choices in their races. Bannon is appearing at a campaign event in Arizona with Laura Ingraham for Ward on Tuesday.
While Bannon has also met with Vukmir, Nicholson has confirmed he will not support failed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remaining in his leadership position in the U.S. Senate.
“According to a Bannon source with direct knowledge of Nicholson’s conversation with Bannon, the Wisconsin candidate indicated that he would not support Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as leader,” McClatchy’s Katie Glueck reported late Monday. “Asked for confirmation, Nicholson campaign spokesman Michael Antonopoulos did not dispute that account.”
Antonopoulos confirmed that Nicholson believes it is time for fresh blood in the GOP’s leadership.
“Kevin supports term limits for himself and the full Senate, including leadership,” Antonopoulos said, according to McClatchy. “The conservative grassroots–and Americans across the board–strongly believe that career politicians aren’t getting the job done and that we need new leaders and fresh ideas in Washington. Kevin could not agree more.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also confirmed the news.
“The Steve Bannon primary in Wisconsin is over and Kevin Nicholson has won,” the Journal-Sentinel’s Bill Glauber wrote. “A pro-Donald Trump super PAC with ties to the ex-White House chief strategist has thrown its endorsement to Nicholson in Wisconsin’s 2018 race for U.S. Senate.”
The Great America PAC has also endorsed other leading anti-establishment conservatives for U.S. Senate, such as Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in Tennessee, Montana state auditor Matt Rosendale, and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. In each of those states, McConnell is desperate to find an alternative candidate. Tennessee and Montana sources tell Breitbart News that McConnell has been frantically searching for alternatives to Blackburn and Rosendale to no avail, as both are the clear GOP frontrunners for the nomination. In West Virginia, McConnell is backing Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV)—a former Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008, a hard sell to the people of West Virginia. In Tennessee, the GOP nominee will likely glide through the general election, whereas in West Virginia and Montana the GOP nominees will face off against Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT), respectively.
The group also backed Judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election U.S. Senate GOP primary runoff on September 26, where Moore was victorious over appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange despite McConnell and his allies like Karl Rove and others wasting dozens of millions of dollars in the Yellowhammer State to prop up Strange. Moore’s nearly double-digit victory while being outspent approximately 10 to 1 was a major victory for conservatives and came even as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Strange, while Strange had the backing of approximately $30 million from McConnell and his pals in Washington.
This all comes after a dustup at the White House on Monday, where President Trump first said he “understands” what Bannon is doing by taking on the entire GOP establishment, which has failed to produce major pieces of legislation.
“Steve is very committed. He’s a friend of mine, and he is very committed to getting things passed,” Trump told reporters early Monday.
Trump blamed Senate GOP leaders for failing. “I’m not going to blame myself, to be honest; they aren’t getting the job done,” Trump said. And the president said he does “understand” where Bannon is coming from: “I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from, and I can understand where a lot of people are coming from because I’m not happy about it, and a lot of people are unhappy about it.”
Later, at a joint press conference with McConnell, President Trump was a little more measured than before.
“Well I have a very good relationship, as you know, with Steve Bannon,” Trump said at the joint press conference with McConnell at the White House when he was asked again about the matter later in the day after meeting privately with McConnell. He added:
Steve’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I like Steve a lot. Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing. Some of the people that he may be looking at I’m gonna see if we talk him outta that ’cause, frankly, they’re great people. What Mitch will tell you is that maybe, with the exception of a few, and that is a very small few, I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate and with the people in Congress. I mean, I have a…with our House of Representatives. I have a great relationship with political people. If you read the papers, you think I’m like on one island, and they’re like on the other. Well, it’s not the way it is. We have a fantastic relationship. I’m friends with most of them. I can say, and I don’t think anybody can have much of a higher percentage, but I’m friends with most of them. I like and respect most of them, and I think they like and respect me. Just so you understand, the Republican Party is very, very unified. When we get things approved, we have to go through hell because we have no Democrat support. We have nobody. We don’t have a vote from the Democrats. As an example — massive tax cuts, we may not get any Democrat votes, now we also may get 3 or 4, but we may get no Demo- for massive tax cuts. We’re the highest taxed country in the world, and yet, we may get no Democrat support. And that’s because they’re obstructionists, and they just basically want us to do badly, but that’s not going to happen.
McConnell, however, was vicious toward Bannon—showing that he is worried and bitter about what is happening in the wake of his failures.
“You have to nominate people who can actually win because winners make policy, and losers go home,” McConnell said, continuing, “Our primary approach will be to support our incumbents and in open seats to seek to help nominate people who can actually win in November. That’s my approach. That’s the way you keep a governing majority.”
Also, apparently in the private meeting with the president, McConnell bashed Bannon even more than he did at the press conference. McConnell, per the Washington Examiner, inaccurately claimed to President Trump that Bannon was “undermining the president’s agenda.”