Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness has launched Gator PAC, a political action committee which the group says “will work to inspire and recruit conservative activists and citizen leaders who are committed to accountability in government, constitutional principles, certainty and prosperity.”
“Running for office was never about me, and it never will be – it’s about us, our country and becoming an active voice for conservative solutions,” Maness said in the release about the launch of the PAC, provided to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “The reality is Washington D.C. is a swamp, career politicians are the Gators and I believe it’s time to drain the swamp!”
Maness has the help of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and senator-elect Bill Cassidy in launching this PAC. Maness ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 in the jungle primary against Cassidy and outgoing Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), then endorsed and campaigned for Cassidy in the runoff against Landrieu. His support for Cassidy was crucial in defeating Landrieu.
“Col. Rob Maness ran an exciting campaign for Senate in 2014, inspiring many voters and activists with his strong conservative message,” Cruz said in the release announcing the launch of Gator PAC. “It’s terrific to see him continue to fight and bring his positive message to new Louisianans. I’m looking forward to working with Rob and GatorPAC to advance our nation’s founding principles.”
“Rob is passionate in his love for our country,” Cassidy added. “He is deeply concerned about the issues which threaten us here and abroad. He is an advocate for those who defend and defended our freedom. I’m glad he will continue to use his skills and experience to shape the debate.”
“As conservatives, we must continue our efforts to build more support for strong conservative principals like blocking Obama’s amnesty, repealing Obamacare, and reducing the out-of-control Washington spending,” Vitter, who will headline GATORPAC’s first event in 2015, also said. “Colonel Maness’s new group will play an important role in keeping citizens engaged, and I look forward to working with them.”
Maness’s biggest supporter in his U.S. Senate bid was former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who said during a Nov. 16 event for Cassidy–where she endorsed him after the jungle primary in Louisiana–that she’s “never been prouder of Col. Rob Maness, a man of great character and commitment to serving our country.”
“His efforts to unify the party behind Dr. Cassidy are truly admirable,” Palin said. “With the Colonel’s bright future in public service, one can envision a future Cassidy/Maness team fighting for conservative principles in Washington.”
Since Vitter is running for governor in Louisiana in 2015–and he’s expected to win easily–there’s talk that Maness may be appointed into his U.S. Senate seat. There are also rumors in Louisiana that he may run against House Majority Whip Steve Scalise after Scalise’s role in passing the cromnibus spending bill that funds President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty through the House of Representatives.
A Breitbart News story raising that possibility was highlighted by Palin on her Facebook page leading up to the vote in the House on that bill. The disdain for Scalise in Louisiana GOP circles couldn’t be clearer, since both Vitter and Gov. Bobby Jindal both urged members of the Louisiana House delegation to fight Obama’s amnesty by blocking its funding, but Scalise helped Speaker John Boehner get the cromnibus bill passed. Both Jindal and Vitter used to sit in Scalise’s House seat in Louisiana’s first congressional district, a district the heart of which Maness lives inside.
While he ultimately didn’t win, Maness’s Senate candidacy was nothing short of incredible. He got more than 202,000 votes with very little national outside help compared to other major grassroots conservative candidates nationwide this cycle. That’s more votes than any sitting U.S. House member in Louisiana, and more than the top two vote getters in Louisiana’s fifth and sixth districts combined.
Maness raised just over $2 million over the cycle–peanuts compared to the $14 million Landrieu raked in–and spent less than $200,000 of that on advertising.
Gator PAC, according to the release, has three major goals. The first will be continuing to advocate for Maness’s major campaign theme, “Solutions for Us” proposals, and on bringing “a conservative message to new audiences and embrace the mandate Reagan gave us to be the party of ideas, not just the party of NO.”
It’s also going to support “constitutional conservative common-sense candidates” and keep “elected officials accountable by pushing the Contract with Louisiana and support candidates who agree to be accountable to those they work for – the citizens of Louisiana.”