Breitbart News has ramped up its activity in the US Senate race in Alabama, which is shaping up to be a proxy fight between Republican Party leaders and the right-wing grassroots.
Politico reported on Monday that Breitbart News is waging an “all out campaign” to beat Sen. Luther Strange, a Republican who was appointed following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ departure for the Department of Justice following President Donald Trump’s victory in the election.
Breitbart has thrown its weight behind former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, a conservative firebrand famous for trying to keep the state from allowing gay marriage, refusing to remove a 10 Commandments monument from a state judicial building, and falsely declaring that parts of the US were living under Sharia law, among other comments.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who returned to Breitbart last month, has made electing Strange a top priority, dispatching editor Matthew Boyle to Alabama to cover the runoff between Moore and Strange on September 26.
The right-wing news site has filled its site with positive articles about Moore, and even aggregated the Politico story about its preference for Moore.
Breitbart has also tried to distance Strange from the White House with stories with headlines like “As White House Backs Off Alabama Race, Desperate Luther Strange Lies in Attacks on Judge Roy Moore,” Politico noted.
And Bannon has been advertising his support for Moore behind the scenes as well on conference calls with various conservative groups.
Though this is far from the first race that has split Republican Party leadership and conservative media sites like Breitbart, it is one of the only notable splits between President Donald Trump and the conservative media that propped him up and staffed parts of his administration.
Trump has flirted with endorsing a challenger to Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona next year and publicly praised a 2016 Republican challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan, though Trump eventually endorsed Ryan.
But the president has backed Strange, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in the race, despite Moore’s major lead in polls leading up to the runoff.