Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) spoke highly of Tea Party-backed Col. Rob Maness in Louisiana on Tuesday, saying he is “surging” in the state’s three-way election there due to his backing of the conservative reform agenda Lee has been pushing.
Lee was talking about conservative Republicans nationwide who are running on positive, big picture ideas like he’s been fighting for in his four years in the U.S. Senate.
Lee wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday:
A new generation of Republican candidates are finding success by directly addressing Americans’ concerns and running on a conservative reform agenda. The American people aren’t willing to accept the failed policies of the Left, but they also no longer want to hear platitudes and poll-tested promises from the Right. That’s why some of the most successful and surging candidates are those who have been ironing out a real agenda for the country.
Lee highlighted Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, Michigan’s Terri Lynn Land, Arkansas’ Tom Cotton, and Maness from Louisiana. The mentioning of Maness in his post is certainly noteworthy, as many national Republicans have thrown their weight behind the other Republican in the race, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
Maness, according to the latest poll from WAFB-TV, is trailing Landrieu’s 36 percent and Cassidy’s 32 percent with just six percent of the vote. He will, however, be participating in a final debate with both Cassidy and Landrieu on Oct. 29 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Lee wrote:
In Nebraska, Ben Sasse won a convincing 27-point victory in the primary and is consistently leading in the polls by focusing on a replacement plan for Obamacare that lowers premiums and puts patients in control of their health care. Terri Lynn Land has made Michigan a toss-up by putting forward a bold 5-point domestic agenda that includes transportation and higher-education reform. Col. Rob Maness has begun to surge in Louisiana by endorsing detailed tax, energy, and anti-cronyism reforms. Rep. Tom Cotton has a commanding lead in Arkansas because he has tackled tough issues like border security, the long-term solvency of entitlements, and specific provisions to lower the cost of health insurance.
Lee’s comments aren’t an endorsement of Maness, who has the backing of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and was just endorsed by Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel–who is set to campaign with Maness this week after earlier this year being brutally attacked by establishment Republicans when he nearly beat U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a primary. McDaniel has alleged widespread voter fraud and that Cochran’s campaign and its allies like Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour lied about his record to get Democrats in Mississippi’s black community to cross over and vote for Cochran in the runoff on June 24.
Since there’s a three way race in Louisiana, if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote plus one there will be a runoff in December. In that vein, Maness is facing some pushback from Washington Republicans, though not as of yet nearly as severe as what McDaniel faced. Republicans inside the beltway argue that Maness is forcing a runoff when Cassidy could beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) on Nov. 4 avoiding a runoff. But polling data shows Landrieu leading Cassidy by several points right now, so Maness’ presence in the race is likely helping ensure that Landrieu doesn’t win outright on Nov. 4.
Maness has definitely seen some promising signs of campaign momentum in recent weeks after he’s rolled out a series of detailed reform agenda type plans like his Contract for Louisiana, his Freedom for Veterans, Life for Louisiana, Working For Us, Opportunities For All Education, Energy For Us, and other plans.
“Senator Lee is right, we need a blueprint for action built on specific policies and ideas, but the first thing that has to happen is participation from everyone,” Maness said in response to Lee’s comments. “What’s wrong with having an open debate about ideas? The CRA appeals to working folks in Louisiana, not Washington or Wall Street. Too many people have no idea what the Republican Party stands for anymore – we can and must change that. I’m proud to stand with Senator Lee — the only question is will Bill Cassidy do the same?”
Lee was just named the incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Steering Committee, where conservatives in the Senate GOP conference work to form an agenda to move the GOP to the right. He’s worked alongside other Republican leaders, including most recently Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus, to get them to back his positive reform policies with the idea of building a vision for the Republican Party that’s bigger than just being opposed to what the Democrats want.
Lee wrote in his Tuesday Facebook post:
This election is shaping up to be both a referendum on Obama’s failed policies and the Democrats’ lack of real solutions that address Americans’ growing economic insecurity and immobility. Conservatives have dozens of specific, detailed proposals to get the country back on track, many of which were heralded in a recent speech by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. Despite what some may have you believe, there is a stark difference between the vision of the Democrat Party and the new, up-and-coming leaders in the Republican Party. We can and will influence the direction of the country in this election if we only have the courage and discipline to stand up, speak out, and show up on Election Day.
In an interview after Priebus laid out several positive policy prescriptions in a speech earlier this month, Lee told Breitbart News that it is Republicans who have an agenda to help America–while the Democrats are hiding their agenda because it doesn’t help people.
“We have a broad agenda for how we should address some of our economic and national security problems, while the Democrats sort of just run on their own failed record, which includes things like high unemployment and significant debt,” Lee said then. “The choice couldn’t be more clear, as Chairman Priebus explained this morning, and it’s up to the American people to decide which course we take. I really like how Chairman Priebus outlined some of the main issues we need to be focused on, and also how he emphasized not just what we’re against but also what we’re for.”