Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon urged Western New Yorkers to vote for Republican candidates on November 6th during a rally in Elma Wednesday night.
President Trump’s former adviser spent about 30 minutes speaking at a rally that was organized by GOP operative Michael Caputo, who said 410 people attended the event. Those supporters packed into the Jamison Rd. Fire Company station house to hear Bannon speak.
“People say, ‘Bannon, why are you so angry all the time? Why are you so angry? And these deplorables, why are they so mad?'” Bannon told the crowd. “I say, ‘Because they’re rational human beings. They understand the entire burden of the system rests on your shoulders.'”
Bannon has been traveling the country in recent weeks, spreading largely the same message.
“It’s a proxy vote on Trump, and it’s a proxy vote on what your common will says is the direction we should take this country. It’s all up for grabs now,” Bannon said of the upcoming midterm elections.
Bannon didn’t mention any candidates by name. Rep. Chris Collins, who has the Republican line in the race for New York’s 27th Congressional District despite facing a federal indictment on insider trading charges, did not attend the rally. However, Reform Party candidate Larry Piegza did, standing across the street from the fire hall with a cutout of Collins in a prison jumpsuit.
“I’m trying to remind voters that they have a choice this election. They can choose to vote for Chris Collins and all his problems,” said Piegza. “Or they can vote for an ethical Republican. I promise to support Trump in everything he does.”
Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray is on the Democratic line in that race.
Several protesters of Bannon joined Piegza across the street. Paul Harvey of Cattaraugus had a sign which read: “Racists enter here.”
“(Bannon) advocates for a white-only America,” Harvey said. “It never has been and never will be. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to show my support for my brothers and sisters of color and to make a stand here in Western New York that we’re not going to tolerate racism.”
“I don’t see where they get that from. I really don’t,” responded Anthony Kunz, a Cheektowaga resident who attended the rally. “I’m not racist. I don’t think that Trump is racist either.”
Meanwhile, the Erie County Democratic Committee held a fundraising dinner in Larkinville Wednesday night, as both sides prepare for November 6th.