Former White House strategist Steve Bannon urged Republican loyalists Tuesday to match liberal enthusiasm in the final week before a midterm election in which a congressional race in Kansas could determine control of the U.S. House.

At an unpublicized micro-rally in North Topeka, Bannon told a small gathering 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 expects Robert Mueller to deliver a report on President Donald Trump before the end of the year. If Davis wins, Bannon said, Democrats will take control of the House and use the Mueller report as a blueprint to launch impeachment proceedings.

If the Trump base doesn't show up next Tuesday, he said, "we're going to lose this."

"I tip my hat to the opposition," Bannon said. "I like a good, fair fight. They have been aggressive. They've raised money. They've been on message, and it's up to us, right? You get the Trump people out, you're going to win."

About 25 people attended the rally at the Holiday Inn Express on US-24 highway, including a small contingent of event organizers and individuals following Bannon for a documentary. People were notified midday by unsolicited texts that read: "Support Trump and MAGA! RED TIDE RISING RALLY with STEVE BANNON."

Referring to himself as "sloppy Steve," Bannon appeared in casual dress, pitching himself as a relatable guy with a blue-collar background.

He reminded supporters of the message he helped craft for Trump two years ago — that working people in America had lost their voice and that elites in charge were OK with that. Bannon credited divine providence for Trump's win.

This time, he told them, it isn't enough to pray. The GOP needs them to volunteer for campaigns, helping with phone banks or ringing doorbells.

"The key to the Trump movement is the 'deplorables,' right?" Bannon said, referencing the rallying cry born of a Hillary Clinton gaffe. "It is the 'deplorables.' We're all in this together."

Bannon declined to praise Watkins, saying he doesn't campaign for any candidates. The mission, Bannon said, was to encourage people to consider who will be the next speaker of the House.

Bryan Piligra, spokesman for Watkins, made it clear the campaign had nothing to do with the Bannon event. But he echoed the concern that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., could return to power.

"That’s why Nancy Pelosi and her allies have made Steve Watkins a top 5 target of their smear campaign nationwide and why Kansas conservatives like Bob Dole and Lynn Jenkins are standing up for Steve," Piligra said. "Steve Watkins will continue to run his race on his own terms and will not be deterred."

GOP leadership in Washington also has spent a lot of money attacking Davis, who has repeatedly said he won't support Pelosi for House speaker.

Bannon spent the day at similar events in Nevada and planned to provide motivational talks for Kris Kobach's campaign before leaving for Iowa. Kobach, the Republican nominee for governor, is tied with Democrat Laura Kelly in consistent polling.

"Sometimes," said Christopher Reeves, a Kansas representative to the Democratic National Committee, "you know your candidates by the people who rally to support them. Steve Bannon was worshiped and publicly praised by the American Nazi Party, David Duke and others. He once said feminism is worse than cancer. He was fired from the Trump administration for being too radical. It is clear what he believes about Steve Watkins and Kris Kobach, and that support is pretty troubling."

Bannon said the strategy of his small, targeted rallies was to ignite a grassroots effort to drive GOP voters to polls.

The "Time's Up" movement against sexual harassment helped drive liberal enthusiasm, Bannon said, while the GOP struggled to gain traction with its promotion of tax cuts.

"I said, 'If we don't counter that, we're going to get smoked,' " Bannon said, "and I think you saw that in the polling early."

Bannon's push for a change in strategy was accelerated by the hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced widespread opposition over allegations of sexual misconduct. Those hearings got the ball rolling for Republicans, Bannon said, which helped close the gap in poll numbers.

"People saw how Democrats would comport themselves after they won," Bannon said. "They saw the mob scene afterwards."

Before leaving the hotel, a woman who asked to take a picture with Bannon lamented that a friend was disinclined to vote for Watkins because the friend sees him as a RINO, or Republican in Name Only.

"This is the fundamental problem throughout the country," Bannon said. "What you have is Trump voters are lower propensity voters in elections. So you have to motivate them to come out. Like she just said right there, a lot of them are people who say, 'Hey, the guy's a RINO, I'm not going to do it.' It's not about that. This is all about empowering the Trump base."