Campaign

Mercers donate to opponent of Bannon-backed Senate candidate

GOP mega-donors Robert, Diana and Rebekah Mercer recently donated to Rep. Evan Jenkins's (R-W.Va.) Senate campaign even though former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, a close ally of the Mercer family, is backing Jenkins's opponent.

McClatchy Newspapers reported on Thursday that the Mercers each gave Jenkins $5,400, the maximum donation allowed by campaign finance law.

That support for Jenkins raises eyebrows, since sources close to Bannon told The Hill last week he is "all in" supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The donations came in the last week of September, a Jenkins campaign aide told The Hill. But a source familiar with the situation told The Hill that the donations came before Bannon got involved in West Virginia and that the Mercers are united with Bannon behind Morrisey.

Bannon is at the center of a group of Republican insurgents looking to use their sway in GOP primaries across the country, including a handful of challenges to Republican incumbents. His coalition - including Bannon's Breitbart News, the pro-Trump Great America Alliance and aides aligned with the House Freedom Caucus - are fresh off a victory in the GOP primary in Alabama's Senate special election, where Roy Moore defeated incumbent Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.).

The Mercers, who are part-owners of Breitbart, are reportedly involved in that effort too.

Morrisey and Jenkins have been locked in one of the more contentious GOP primaries this cycle. The congressman has accused the attorney general of being late to support President Trump, while Morrisey has targeted Jenkins's past as a Democrat in the state House.

Updated: 10:09 p.m.

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