Laurie Roberts: Roy Moore turned out to be cannon fodder in Steve Bannon’s war against the establishment. Will Kelli Ward fare any better?
As the results rolled in Alabama’s Senate race on Tuesday evening, I pictured Kelli Ward in a dead faint.
Ward is Steve Bannon’s Arizona foot soldier in his revolutionary war against the Republican Party.
Kind of like Roy Moore was Bannon’s foot soldier in Alabama. Or, as it turns out, cannon fodder.
About that ‘special place in hell’
Bannon was all-in for Moore, headlining rallies across the state and vowing to take on any within the Republican establishment who didn’t support his candidate – and by extrapolation, the president – in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Mitch McConnell and Sen. Shelby, and Condi Rice and all that, Little Bobby Corker, all the establishment out there doesn’t have Trump’s back at all,” Bannon said on Monday, on the eve of the election. “There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better.”
Now Bannon has relocated to that special place.
Meanwhile, Ward remains one of Bannon’s foot soldiers, having been thrilled to enlist in his ground war.
In October, the former White House strategist was in Arizona, vowing that the GOP would “reap the whirlwind” and “that whirlwind is Kelli Ward.”
That was then, when the hard-right Ward was running against Sen. Jeff Flake, a guy widely despised by the party’s base.
Will Trump side with Team Bannon again?
This is now, when Ward faces the prospect of running against fellow Republican Martha McSally, a two-term southern Arizona congresswoman – a former fighter pilot and the state’s most reliable vote for Trump’s agenda.
McSally hasn’t even formally announced that she’s running but already Bannon’s Great America Alliance has come out swinging with its website, AmnestyMartha.com.
Meanwhile, Ward has spent the last year trying to out-MAGA the MAGA master, throwing all in with Trump and hoping desperately to get his endorsement. Winning Bannon’s support was seen as the first step toward that glorious moment.
Given Trump’s Tuesday humiliation at the hands of Steve Bannon, I can’t imagine that he’ll be throwing in with Team Bannon any time soon.
Trump is going to desperately need a win and given that Arizona will have one of the marquee Senate races next year, with the formidable Kyrsten Sinema as the Democratic nominee, and the eyes of the nation upon us …
Well, let’s just say that when it comes to the Republican primary, I’m picturing the more mainstream Martha McSally with a big ol’ smile on her face today.
MORE FROM ROBERTS:
Three to watch in the race to replace Trent Franks
Why is Steve Montenegro looking for Franks’ endorsement?
Arpaio ‘seriously’ thinking of running for Senate? Yeah, right
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