Palin Endorses Rob Maness in Louisiana Senate Race

Friday, 09 May 2014 05:29 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has endorsed retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness in his uphill battle for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana, praising the former Entergy executive as "a true conservative and a real warrior."

"Having spent his career in uniform, he does not have deep pockets or lobbyist connections to fund his campaign," Palin said Thursday, The Times Picayune reported.

"To me, it's a blessing, not a curse that he's not held office before. After all, our founders weren't politicians — many of them in fact were military leaders. Maybe it's time we got back to those roots."

Maness — whose first television ad Thursday showed him wrestling alligators and promising to stand up against "the career politicians and the alligators" — is trying to elbow past incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy.

Landrieu "still to this day" would vote for Obamacare, Palin charged. She also asked whether Cassidy, a doctor who has the backing of mainstream Republicans, "is the best we can do," noting his past opposition to former President Ronald Reagan and "until recent years," his support for Landrieu.

Palin’s endorsements have gotten mixed results in pushing candidates over the finish line; it helped get Ted Cruz elected to the Senate in Texas in 2012, but wasn’t enough to carry challenger Taylor Griffin to victory over incumbent Walter Jones in last Tuesday’s North Carolina House Republican primary.

Maness has been running behind both Landrieu and Cassidy in recent polls — and Palin’s endorsement could be significant.

"First, it will generate media coverage, and for an outsider candidate taking on establishment candidates, any coverage that can help raise name recognition is important," Brian Brox, a political scientist at Tulane University, told the newspaper.

"Second, Palin's endorsement will alert her many followers that Maness is someone who deserves their support. Maness will likely leverage this endorsement for fundraising, so it will be interesting to see if Palin and her followers will turn this rhetorical support for Maness into financial support."

Louisiana's open primary system means all the candidates be on the ballot in November. If none wins a majority, the top two advance to a runoff.

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