The Latest: Veteran GOP strategist to help Ward campaign
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and divisions within the Republican party (all times local):
Veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins will be campaign chairman for Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward.
That’s the word from campaign aides. Rollins, a well-known figure in past Republican presidential campaigns, is also chairman of a political action committee associated with Steve Bannon, the former adviser to President Donald Trump who has endorsed Ward.
The news of Rollins leadership role in Ward’s campaign comes a day after first-term GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, whom Ward had planned to challenge next year, announced he would not seek re-election in 2018.
In a statement to The Associated Press, Rollins said: “Given the importance of this race on the national landscape, I want to do everything I can to ensure Arizona elects a conservative senator next year.”
Rollins achieved fame as a national GOP strategist as a top aide to President Ronald Reagan.
Steve Bannon’s war on the GOP establishment has caught the party’s most powerful donors in the crossfire.
Deep-pocketed supporters of Trump’s agenda are divided over how best to spend their dollars to advance the Trump agenda. Once a whispered concern, the division was out front this week as donors who support President Donald Trump huddled deep in the Texas desert to discuss their strategy.
It’s not that they all oppose the president’s former adviser’s more-radical version of conservatism. But some believe Bannon is wasting time, energy and resources by vowing to take down Republican lawmakers that he feels stand in Trump’s way.
Doug Deason, one of the big donors who attended Tuesday’s private meeting of America First Action, a Trump-sanctioned super PAC, likened Bannon’s strategy to “pissing in the wind.”