Steve Bannon, the onetime close adviser to Donald Trump with wide appeal among the president’s supporters, will highlight an Elma campaign rally on Oct. 24 in a sign of the GOP’s escalating effort to excite its base and turn out the vote on Election Day.
Bannon will appear with local Republican candidates at 4:30 p.m. at the Jamison Road Volunteer Fire Co, 1071 Jamison Road, according to organizer Michael R. Caputo.
“It’s a ‘Red Tide Rising’ rally to get out the vote for all Republican candidates in the region,” said Caputo, an East Aurora political consultant and CNN commentator associated with Bannon on several political projects. “People will be coming from all around, but everyone is concerned about NY-27 going blue.”
Caputo is referring to the 27th Congressional District seat now held by Republican Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence, who is running for re-election while under federal indictment for alleged insider trading. Even though the Collins district ranks as the most Republican in New York State, a Siena College poll released Tuesday shows him statistically tied with Democratic challenger Nathan McMurray.
“Steve is doing a national tour of troublesome congressional districts,” Caputo said. “He is a friend who I told about the problems in NY-27, and he wants to keep it red.”
The GOP aims to rally its base, especially among the Trump supporters it hopes to attract to the polls amid fears that normally loyal Republicans could be reluctant to vote for a candidate facing federal charges.
Caputo noted that all Republican candidates from gubernatorial nominee Marc Molinaro on down have been invited, as has Collins.
He said replies to invitations have not yet been received. But he noted that organizers include high-profile Republicans like Assemblyman David J. DiPietro of East Aurora; Carl P. Paladino, the 2010 GOP candidate for governor; and Erie County Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy. All were early and ardent Trump supporters. Collins also was the first member of Congress to back Trump’s campaign for president.
David Bellavia, who lost the 2012 Republican congressional primary to Collins and is now a WBEN Radio talk show host, will act as master of ceremonies, Caputo said.
Bannon has been touring the country in recent weeks to rally Trump supporters and urge their vote on Nov. 6 to stave off a serious Democratic challenge to GOP control of the House of Representatives, Caputo said.
“Bannon believers are at war in the midterms and know that if we lose the House of Representatives to the Democrats, all the accomplishments of the Trump administration will come to a screeching halt,” he said.
Bannon served as a key figure in the president’s successful election campaign during 2016 and joined the Trump administration in 2017 as chief strategist. He left after only a few months to rejoin the conservative Breitbart News website that he co-founded in 2007, but he stepped down from its top post earlier this year.
Caputo has been working with Bannon on campaign projects this election season with a group called Citizens of the American Republic. It has produced a film called “Trump at War” and is working in other key elections deemed crucial to maintaining Republican control of the House.