No one except President Trump is happier to see Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Az.) call it quits than Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, as it signals the possibility his anti-establishment rhetoric has taken hold and may succeed in scaring rank-and-file Republicans from running for office. Bannon had put all his political capital behind Flake’s challenger, Kelli Ward. Indeed, his website saw Flake’s retirement as an unequivocal victory, labeling it with the headline “WINNING”.
“Winning: Flake Out” read a flashing top story on Breitbart.com.
Bannon parted ways with the White House in August and immediately returned to his former position as chief executive of Breitbart News.
Flake, one of President Trump’s loudest GOP critics, announced he would retire from the Senate following this term in an interview with The Arizona Republic.
Flake gave a scathing critique of Trump from the Senate floor minutes after the announcement, decrying “coarseness of our dialogue with the tone set up at the top.”
The Breitbart story cites a JMC Analytics Poll that was provided exclusively to the news source on Aug. 28 showing Flake trailing primary challenger Kelli Ward by 26 points. Another poll for the firm HighGround showed Flake trailing by 14 points.
Bannon endorsed Ward last week at an campaign event in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“It’s an open revolt, and it should be,” Bannon said last Wednesday before introducing Ward. “These people hold you in total contempt. They think you’re a group of morons.”
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