A Tea Party-backed Senate candidate in Louisiana recently argued that, were his opponent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) alive in the 18th century, she would have sided with pro-slavery forces.
Rob Maness, a retired Air Force officer running against Landrieu in Louisiana’s 2014 U.S. Senate election, attracted national attention in the last week, after a powerful outside spending group, the Senate Conservatives Fund, endorsed his candidacy.
Before all the national attention, in August, Maness spoke at the annual RedState Gathering. He attacked Landrieu for her observation during the immigration bill markup that “The only way you get something is to become obnoxious.” Maness extrapolated from Landrieu’s statement that she would believe anyone who holds an unpopular belief is “obnoxious,” then inferred that Landrieu would have sided against anti-slavery advocates had she been alive around the country’s founding. “Senator Landrieu might have called Mrs. Adams ‘obnoxious,’ especially since she was opposed to slavery and favored women’s rights when both were very unpopular ideas,” Maness told the crowd.
MANESS: We’ve got a dog named Lady Abigal named after the outspoken first lady Abigail Adams. Senator Landrieu might have called Mrs. Adams “obnoxious,” especially since she was opposed to slavery and favored women’s rights when both were very unpopular ideas.
Some might see this offhand quip as a gaffe, but not Maness. He features the speech prominently on his campaign website.
Maness is currently vying for the Republican nomination against Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) who, despite his near-perfect 92 score in the 2012 American Conservative Union scorecard, is viewed as insufficiently conservative in the eyes of many Tea Partiers.
The Maness-Cassidy matchup could echo a plethora of other Senate races in the past two elections where firebrand Tea Partiers, like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, were able to prevail in primarie over a more electable Republican, only to find themselves unable to appeal to the electorate as a whole.