The Rob Maness campaign has touted the fact he’s been endorsed in the last couple of weeks by Sarah Palin and (yesterday) the Tea Party Express.
Those aren’t bad endorsements to have, but our take on them has been that getting Sarah Palin’s endorsement isn’t going to help you if you don’t also have endorsements from people of note in local politics. What Maness needs before his campaign can really play on the main stage in the campaign to unseat Mary Landrieu from the U.S. Senate is a prominent sheriff, assessor, parish president, mayor, state legislator or current or former statewide official.
Maness would go a lot farther if he could get a Newell Normand or Joey Durel to back him than Palin. People may like Palin, but it’s questionable whether they’re going to find anything she has to say relevant to a Louisiana Senate race in which the main focus for Republican voters will be to get rid of Landrieu.
The flip side of getting out-of-state endorsements is that your opponents can get them, too. For example, yesterday Bill Cassidy got Newt Gingrich’s backing…
“Dr. Cassidy’s background as a physician serving the uninsured makes him uniquely qualified to help dismantle Obamacare and replace it with common-sense conservative reforms.” said Gingrich. “In the Senate, we can count on Dr. Cassidy to stand up for Louisiana values, unleash our energy economy and promote a culture of life. I’m proud to support his candidacy and I look forward to seeing the work he will do in the U.S. Senate.”
Dr. Bill Cassidy M.D. added, “I’m humbled to receive Newt’s endorsement. Speaker Gingrich has a proven record of standing for conservative reform against liberal Washington. Now, we once again have to stand up to a broken agenda as we fight to get our country back on course. Senator Landrieu supports President Obama’s agenda 97 percent of the time. In the Senate, I will stand for Louisiana values, instead of being a rubber stamp for the President’s agenda.”
Does Gingrich’s endorsement carry more weight than Palin’s? Ideologically, probably not. What may give it more juice is the fact that two years ago Gingrich was running for president and built a campaign organization of sorts in Louisiana – as the state was at one point a crucial primary for his presidential bid. Gingrich didn’t do all that well in the 2012 Louisiana primary, of course, but he at least had a campaign organization and his endorsement might make some of those people more interested in Cassidy if they aren’t already. Palin was the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate, but it’s hard to argue that the John McCain campaign organization in Louisiana from six years ago is going to get mobilized by Palin for Maness.
Again, though – local endorsements usually make a lot larger difference than the backing of national figures. When the sheriffs and assessors and mayors and parish presidents start picking horses in the Senate race you’ll be able to see whether Maness has a real shot at climbing over Cassidy into the runoff against Landrieu. The out-of-state endorsements might get you a headline, but they’re less likely to deliver votes on Election Day.