Government & Politics

Steve Bannon slips into Kansas to fire up a Republican crowd — all 25 of them

Steve Bannon made an unannounced visit to Topeka on Tuesday to stump for Republican congressional candidate Steve Watkins. The campaign told the Topeka Capital-Journal it had nothing to do with the visit.
Steve Bannon made an unannounced visit to Topeka on Tuesday to stump for Republican congressional candidate Steve Watkins. The campaign told the Topeka Capital-Journal it had nothing to do with the visit. Twitter/Sherman Smith

Former senior White House adviser Steve Bannon made a surprise visit to Topeka on Tuesday to stump for Republican congressional candidate Steve Watkins.

The Topeka Capital-Journal estimated that about 25 people showed up at a Holiday Inn Express — on par with the small crowd that showed up to see Bannon fire up Republicans last week on Staten Island.

The Capital-Journal’s managing editor, Sherman Smith, gave a tick-tock description on Twitter of Bannon’s Topeka stop.

Smith reported that “a New York Times poll showing Democrat Paul Davis with a four-point lead over Republican Steve Watkins was the catalyst for his spur-of-the-moment decision to fly to Kansas.”

He also noted that the Watkins camp “made it clear the campaign had nothing to do with the Bannon event.”

The New York Daily News reported that 38 people showed up at the Staten Island event where Bannon screened his documentary “Trump @ War.”

“Even worse, as far as Bannon is likely concerned, the screening didn’t even inspire protests,” wrote Vanity Fair.

Bannon, though, told the New York crowd he didn’t mind the tiny turnout, noting that at six events he’s done only about 10 people showed up.

He said he’s intentionally gone small.

“You want grassroots leaders,” he said, according to the Daily News. “You don’t need massive events. This is all about human contact. This is about getting grassroots people excited to either walk precincts, to work phone banks, et cetera.”

He might be getting cozy, but that didn’t stop the jabs on Twitter, where one user noted of his Topeka stop: “I’ll have more people over for Thanksgiving.”

Bannon is reportedly headed to Virginia this weekend to rally Republicans there.

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