Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may not be the top Senate Republican for much longer. The Hill asked nearly two dozen GOP Senate hopefuls about their intentions to back McConnell in GOP leadership elections, and the answers are shocking.
Reporters reached out to Republican Senate candidates, facing election in 2018, to ask them if they intended to back McConnell for Majority Leader. However, not one campaign pledged to support him outright. In fact, several candidates declared their opposition to McConnell, while other candidates merely deflected, or spoke on background about the bind they’re in over the question of McConnell’s leadership.
Brietbart’s Steve Bannon has vowed to challenge every single candidate that is not on board with the ‘Trump”- Agenda,” but McConnell is not without his own method of persuasion. The Senate Leader’s deep bench of wealthy donors make him one of the most effective fundraisers in the GOP, and has made it clear that he is willing to use his donor network and campaign fund to sink candidates that he doesn’t like.
GOP Senate hopeful Mike Gibbons is calling on the Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the favorite in the race, to sign his own petition demanding that McConnell retire now and not participate in elections next year.
Mandel, who had received millions of dollars in the outside support from the McConnell-aligned group American Crossroads GPS for his own failed 2012 bid, ducked the question at a press conference this week and had told the reporters he’d address it when he was elected.
“Just like we would expect from the career politician that he is, Josh is refusing to take a position,” Gibbons said in a statement.
Mandel’s campaign also never responded to the multiple requests made for comment for this story.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week, Rove, who oversees the powerful Senate Leadership Fund that seeks to reelect incumbents, attacked Bannon as a “failed presidential adviser and alt-right sympathizer.”
Karl Rove had accused Bannon of launching a “jihad against incumbent Republicans” and singled out Ward and Tarkanian as surefire general election losers and part of Bannon’s “collection of misfits and ne’er-do-wells.”
Bannon’s critics said that he is getting too much credit for swooping in late in Alabama, where they say Moore was already headed for his certain victory over Strange, the McConnell-backed candidate.
Josh Holmes, McConnell’s former chief of staff stated, “If you’re a candidate wrapping yourself around an axle of who you’ll support in a leadership election that presumes you’ve already won a Senate seat, you’re doing it wrong.”
“Voters don’t have an ounce of interest in who wins a prospective leadership race, they care about jobs. This is nothing more than a vanity project for Steve Bannon and, like all vanity projects, it will go about as far as you can throw a thousand-pound stone. Bannon doesn’t have a movement behind him. The president does and without President Trump, Bannon is a nobody.”