Steve Bannon's Open Revolt Against GOP Establishment Sputters

Steve Bannon entered the 2018 election cycle vowing to run primary challengers against nearly every Republican incumbent, looking to shake the party establishment to its core.

The establishment, however, appears to have won.

Mr. Bannon took his latest blow Tuesday in Arizona, where former state Sen. Kelli Ward, one of his earliest recruits, fell to Rep. Martha McSally, a more establishment-minded candidate, in the battle for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake.

Her loss followed similar failures by Bannon-backed candidates in Wisconsin, where his Senate pick lost in a primary this month, in Nevada, where his preferred Senate candidate dropped out and is running for a lower office, and in Alabama, where Roy Moore squandered a seat long held by Republicans in a special election late last year.

Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart, meanwhile, eked out a primary win in Virginia, and Mr. Bannon backed winners in Senate Republican primaries in Tennessee, West Virginia and Montana, where the candidates were established political figures before Mr. Bannongave them his blessing.

But political observers say Mr. Bannon usually came up short in races where tried to play kingmaker.

“The problem is that the ones that Bannon tried to mold or had a hand in molding wound up failing and the ones that were the best options to begin with or well-known in their states wound up winning,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican Party strategist.

Mr. O’Connell said the Trump world appears to have settled on a strategy of backing candidates they believe are best-equipped to win competitive general election races and when possible get behind Trump-like candidates.

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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