Former U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness has just announced his bid for David Vitter’s open Senate seat. Maness, who got over 202,000 votes in his 2014 race, is expected to tap the Tea Party/liberty Republican base.
Here’s the AP writeup:
Republican Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate last year, is making another bid for a Louisiana-based Senate seat.
Maness has filed federal paperwork declaring his candidacy for the 2016 election that will determine who takes the Senate position being vacated by Republican David Vitter. Vitter announced he wouldn’t seek a third term after losing the Louisiana governor’s race.
On paper, you would think that Maness is better positioned in 2016 because of his unexpectedly strong run in 2014. He has also been going all over the state with his GatorPAC, which had quite a bit of success in the runoff. Maness certainly has a base and a statewide organization. He will also start out with decent name recognition statewide.
But Maness will have a few problems as well:
- Can he consolidate his Northshore base? His first problem is that State Rep. Paul Hollis (R-Covington) is also looking at the race. If Hollis doesn’t go, it certainly helps Maness. But he’ll have to fight off encroachment from Congressman John Fleming, Congressman Charles Boustany, and Treasurer John Kennedy.
- How can he move further to the right than John Fleming? Fleming is one of the founders of the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus. It will be pretty tough to call him a RINO.
- Can he raise enough money? Fleming, Boustany, and Kennedy will be fundraising juggernauts. Maness’s GatorPAC has only raised less than $50,000 since it was launched last year. Maness’s Senate bid only raised a little under $3.3 million in 2014. But Maness will have an advantage in a crowded field so he may not need to compete with the big boys.
All in all, Maness has a base to build on from 2014 which is going to be a major advantage in a crowded Senate field. But many of the same weaknesses from that Senate bid will still be there. Whether or not the crowded field will help Maness remains to be seen.