Maness uncertain about future in politics

Fresh from finishing third in a hard-fought U.S. Senate primary election, political newcomer Rob Maness says he’s not sure whether he will enter another race for political office.

“It’s up to the people,” he said when asked whether he would run for another seat. “Politics was never my ambition in the first place. I am very honored by the folks who did give me their most precious right, which is to vote for their leadership.

“I still believe in the things I fought for in the campaign and always will. Ultimately, it will be the people to come up and decide if they want somebody like to me to fight for them again,” he said. “If that turns out to be me, so be it.”

Maness, a retired Air Force colonel and tea party favorite from Madisonville, has joined with the Republican who bested him in the primary, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, in his effort to unseat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from New Orleans. With Maness’ backing, Cassidy is favored to win the race.

If Cassidy wins, as expected, “there will be no white Democrats from the Deep South states” in the Senate, said political science professor Pearson Cross of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

During the campaign, Maness was critical of Cassidy for not being conservative enough. Many of his supporters agreed.

He acknowledged in an interview that some of those 202,548 voters might not support Cassidy, even though he is backing him.

“As I told the congressman and his wife the other night when Candy and I had dinner with them, he needs to work hard to get those votes. I worked hard to get those voters out.

“Almost to a person, from those I actually got feedback from, they said what an honor it was to get the opportunity to go vote for somebody and some things, instead of voting against somebody and some things.”

When asked about Cassidy’s campaign focusing on voting against Landrieu and President Barack Obama instead of just for him, Maness said Cassidy told him “he’s willing to listen.”

He said his voters are “looking to be inspired to go vote for him, not against Mary. Some of them will go vote against Sen. Landrieu, but by no means all of them will” vote that way.

“Many are first-time voters and they had to be motivated to get out. He can do it. I’m convinced of that. You get a lot of first-time voters to come out if you give them something to vote for, like I did.”

Cassidy needs to meet with voters in person and clarify his positions on issues if he wants to get most of his voters, Maness said.

“I told him I got the truck tuned up, the oil changed and I’m ready to do whatever he needs me to do.”