Bannon says he's headed to Virginia to campaign for pro-Trump candidates
By Patrick Wilson, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said he's headed to Virginia this weekend to help campaign for pro-Trump candidates in tough races that could determine control of the U.S. House.
Bannon said in an interview with radio show host John Fredericks that it's crucial for President Donald Trump to maintain GOP control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
"The entire Trump agenda is on the line if we lose the House of Representatives," Bannon said. "If you want to see the Trump agenda grind to a halt in the House of Representatives in a flurry of subpoenas and investigations, then don’t take your friends, don’t take your neighbors don't take your colleagues out to vote on the 6th. But if you like the Trump program, you like what you see, then you’ve got to do it.”
Bannon in August formed a 501(c)(4) called Citizens of the American Republic. He said the organization is devoted to getting Trump supporters to "get off their duff" and get engaged in driving the president's agenda.
Bannon said he's in Nevada promoting re-election of GOP House candidates and will visit Kansas, Iowa and Pennsylvania and then be in Virginia and North Carolina on Saturday to Monday. He did not give specifics but said his holds rallies and screens a film he produced called Trump@War.
In Virginia, which is key to Democratic efforts to retake the U.S. House, Bannon mentioned three potentially vulnerable Republicans: Reps. Dave Brat, Barbara Comstock and Scott Taylor.
Brat, who is seeking a third term in the 7th U.S. House District, is in a statistical tie with Democrat Abigail Spanberger, according to a recent poll. Comstock is seeking a third term in the 10th district and trails in polling against Democratic challenger Jennifer Wexton, a state senator. Taylor, who is seeking a second term in the 2nd, has a lead in recent polling over Democrat Elaine Luria.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is assisting all three Democrats.
"This could come down to the commonwealth of Virginia," Bannon said of the fight for House control. "It could come down to a couple of congressional seats there that have to be saved."
Corey Stewart, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia, has had a "tough run" in his underfunded challenge to Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., Bannon said.
"Without a lot of top of the ticket support, these congressional candidates have really got to grind it out. ... Comstock, Brat and Taylor are real, real tough fights."
After helping Trump win the 2016 election, Bannon, a Richmond native, spent about seven months in the White House as chief strategist, leaving in August 2017.
He was involved in Brat's surprise 2014 primary win over Eric Cantor in a GOP primary. He was then head of Breitbart News, which which attacked Cantor in its coverage of the race for being too soft on immigration, which Brat made the defining issue.
Jake Rubenstein, communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia, predicted that voters have had enough of "fear-mongering antagonists."
"This last minute rescue mission from Alt-Right propagandist Steve Bannon is a perfect ending to the divisive, failed campaigns of Dave Brat, Barbara Comstock, and Scott Taylor," Rubenstein said in an email.