Blackwater Founder Weighing Senate Run in Wyoming

He would be part of Steven Bannon's anti-establishment insurgency
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2017 12:20 PM CDT
Bannon Favorite Erik Prince Considering a Run for Senate
   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

The man who founded the controversial security contractor Blackwater is considering running for Congress, and he'll have the backing of Breitbart leader and former White House advisor Steve Bannon if he does. Erik Prince is reportedly considering a challenge to Republican Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, the Washington Post reports, part of an insurgency against the Republican establishment being led by Bannon and funded by New York hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. That insurgency was given a jolt last month when Bannon-backed conservative Roy Moore defeated Senator Luther Strange in an Alabama Republican primary. Prince is a longtime Trump supporter, and his sister is Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education.

A Prince campaign wouldn't come without controversy. In 2014, 14 Blackwater guards were convicted of manslaughter, and one of murder, after opening fire on a crowded square in Iraq in 2007, killing 17 Iraqi civilians. And along with Bannon, Prince pushed a proposal earlier this year to replace American soldiers with contractors in Afghanistan that was opposed by Trump's national security team, the New York Times reports. And while Prince had an address in Wyoming in the late 1990s and early 2000s, his home state is Michigan, which could be a political problem for him if he runs. In addition, John Barrasso is a popular sitting senator who would have the full backing of McConnell and the Republican establishment. (More Erik Prince stories.)

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