Steve Bannon’s campaign to replace mainstream Republicans in Congress with individuals adhering to his anti-establishment message won’t go unimpeded. Per the Washington Post, a super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “declared open warfare” against the former White House chief strategist, who’s reportedly demanding promises that candidates will not vote for McConnell for majority leader before offering his endorsement. Though some fear it will only emphasize Bannon’s message, the Senate Leadership Fund says it will spend millions attacking Bannon’s populism and alleged links to white nationalism in an effort to discredit his favored candidates and bolster GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterms.
Among the SLF’s targets is Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward—Bannon’s pick to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake—whom the super PAC has labeled a “conspiracy theorist.” SLF also targeted Bannon-backed Danny Tarkanian, who’s challenging Republican Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada in the 2018 GOP primary, in a Wednesday tweet referencing a 2016 article accusing Bannon of anti-Semitism, reports the Washington Examiner. Tarkanian called the tweet a “smear attack,” per the Hill, while a former Bannon adviser said the “false attack” was “embarrassing” and “desperate” even for “Mitch McConnell’s henchmen.” Despite the infighting, President Trump on Wednesday described “great unity in the Republican Party,” per the New York Times.