Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has come out swinging against Republican firebrand Steve Bannon, owner of Breitbart news, who has said his goal is to overthrow McConnell. McConnell launched a blistering attack recently on Bannon, and there is a full court press against Bannon going on in GOP friendly media.
How much trouble is McConnell in? This much:
The Hill asked nearly two dozen Senate candidates this week if they would support McConnell as leader if elected. Not one campaign said outright that they would support him, although two candidates appear to have expressed support in the past.
Several candidates declared their opposition to McConnell and attacked their GOP primary opponents for not taking a stance on the question. Other candidates deflected, or spoke on background about the bind they’re in over the question of McConnell’s leadership. Most candidates were eager to avoid the question entirely, and ignored multiple requests for comment.
The candidate survey underscores the tricky balancing act facing Republican Senate candidates in 2018, which is shaping up to be a proxy war between the party establishment and its grass-roots base.
“Ten years ago when you ran campaigns, especially after 9/11, it was all about leadership. You could talk about your role in Congress in making things better,” one top aide to a GOP Senate campaign told The Hill. “Now Republican voters want to burn the place down, so you have more of a tightrope.”