© Greg Nash
Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow the Democratic Party's campaign strategy is failing America GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis MORE (R-Ky.) are doubling down in their battle against former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, highlighting past charges of anti-Semitism that were leveled against the Breitbart News head during a nasty legal battle over his divorce.
The latest provocation came in response to a tweet from Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Danny Tarkanian, who is mounting a Bannon-aligned insurgent primary bid against Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerTexas abortion law creates 2022 headache for GOP Heller won't say if Biden won election Ex-Sen. Dean Heller announces run for Nevada governor MORE (R-Nev.).
Tarkanian's tweet called on Heller to sign a pledge to oppose McConnell as majority leader.
The Senate Leadership Fund, McConnell's allied super PAC, responded by asking Tarkanian if he stands by Bannon amid accusations of anti-Semitism leveled by his ex-wife in 2007.
The allegations stem from a 2007 court filing from Bannon's divorce proceedings obtained by numerous outlets in the summer of 2016, shortly after Bannon joined President Trump as his campaign chairman.
Bannon's then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, claimed in documents pertaining to their 1997 divorce that Bannon made a number of anti-Semitic comments while looking at schools for his daughters.
Tarkanian responded on Twitter, describing the SLF tweet as a "smear attack."
I am proud to stand with my friend Steve Bannon against Heller/McConnell hatchet-man's smear attacks. #NVSEN— Danny Tarkanian (@DannyTarkanian) October 25, 2017
Bannon's spokeswoman denied the August report at the time. On Wednesday, Bannon adviser Andrew Surabian blasted both the allegations and the Senate Leadership Fund's tweet in comments to The Hill.
"These desperate and false personal attacks from Mitch McConnell and his cronies at the Senate Leadership Fund are further proof that McConnell Inc. is imploding in front of our very eyes," Surabian said.
"If Mitch McConnell truly cares about the Republican majority in the Senate, he would step down as majority leader today," he said.
He went on to point to recent polling showing that a majority of GOP voters believe McConnell should resign as majority leader.
The tweet underscores the ugly turn in the clash between McConnell allies and Bannon, who is cobbling together allies to back insurgent Republican candidates and asking them not to support McConnell if elected.
The group has already endorsed a handful of candidates and expects to back more. But the battle has already become an issue in Senate GOP primaries — when The Hill contacted nearly two dozen Senate candidates last week to ask if they would support McConnell as leader, not one campaign would affirmatively do so.