News From The Michigan Democratic Party

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Contact: Paul Kanan, 517.371.5410;

Republican Candidates Forced To Pick Sides as Former Trump Adviser Bannon Brings GOP Internal Strife to Michigan
Bannon Headlines Macomb County GOP ‘Unity Dinner’ Tonight After Big Electoral Defeats in Michigan and Across the Country

LANSING — Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to Donald Trump, is taking his GOP civil war show on the road and will headline the Macomb County Republican Party “Unity Dinner” tonight. Yet Michigan voters still don’t know where potential Republican U.S. Senate candidates, like Bob Young, John James, and Fred Upton, or the GOP’s possible nominees for governor, like Bill Schuette and Brian Calley, stand on the divisions in their party. Are they with Trump and Bannon on one side or “Establishment” Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the other?

Bannon’s visit comes after Republicans suffered resounding defeats yesterday in elections throughout Michigan and across the country. Democrats won big in the state House special elections in the 1st and 109th districts, while progressive candidates were elected in local races in Detroit, Jackson, Mt. Pleasant, New Baltimore, Kentwood and more. Voters rejected Republicans in the Trump-Bannon mold, as well as Establishment candidates.

Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon held a conference call today on Bannon’s visit.

Trump and McConnell have publicly clashed many times. Bannon, executive chairman of the alt-right website, Breitbart News, has actively sown some of the deepest divisions in the Republican Party, recently recruiting U.S. Senate candidates to run against Establishment Republicans favored by McConnell.

National media, including CNN and The Hill, have dubbed this a “civil war” in the Republican Party. It’s time for Republicans who would run for U.S. Senate, including John James, Bob Young, and Fred Upton to tell Michigan’s voters if they’re with Trump and Bannon or McConnell and the Establishment. Potential Republican gubernatorial candidates, like Bill Schuette and Brian Calley, owe it to voters to say which side they’re on.

“There’s no denying that the Republican Party is deeply fractured and no ‘Unity Dinner’ in Macomb County can paper over that reality — especially when the guest of honor, Steve Bannon, has been working nonstop to push out Establishment Republicans. Bannon will be hard-pressed to explain why Republicans suffered such resounding defeats last night in Michigan and across the country. Michigan voters deserve to know where Fred Upton, Bob Young, John James, Brian Calley and Bill Schuette stand on the GOP civil war. All of this Republican infighting will do nothing to help the people of Michigan, who deserve leaders who will fight for good jobs, our Great Lakes, and lower health care and prescription drug costs,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon.