Dr. Ben Carson, a former 2016 GOP presidential candidate who has since, dropping out, endorsed businessman Donald Trump, has made his first congressional endorsement of the 2016 cycle: Col. Rob Maness, for the U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.
Dr. Carson said in a forthcoming statement obtained exclusively by Breitbart News:
As a Christian, I recognize the importance of having leaders who will go to Congress and protect our religious liberties and freedom of speech, and Colonel Rob Maness is that person. He is an outsider with over 32 years of military service and a proven track record of leadership. At a time where we face threats from around the world, Colonel Maness is the right type of leader we need to keep our country safe. He will be a voice of reason, who will bring his highly experienced military background as a commander and national security expert to Congress. We need leaders who will protect our Judeo-Christian beliefs and the Constitution, and Colonel Maness will do just that. He is a man with great character and a strong moral compass, and it is with great pleasure that I endorse him for U.S. Senate. Please join me in supporting his candidacy.
Maness is pleased to receive Carson’s endorsement, saying that he’s “a genuine political outsider” just like him. Maness said in the statement:
Like me, Dr. Carson is a genuine political outsider and I’m honored to have earned his endorsement. Dr. Carson is one of the most respected voices in the conservative movement because of his unmovable commitment to our Christian values and constitutional rights. He understands that if we are ever going to truly transform Washington, that we must begin to send people there from the outside who aren’t beholden to the political elites in either party. With the help of patriots like Dr. Carson, I plan on going to the United States Senate to be a voice for the millions of Americans who no longer feel like they’re being represented by the career politicians in Washington and to help bring about a government that actually respects the rule of law as laid out in our Constitution.
Maness, a retired Air Force Colonel, ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 in Louisiana and came in a strong third in the jungle primary against then sitting Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu—who would go on to lose later to now Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). Maness’s classy nature earned him enormous respect inside the GOP in Louisiana at a time when other outsider candidates clashed with party insiders, and now that he’s taking a second bite at the apple he seems to be gaining significant traction on the ground in Louisiana.
He’s facing another crowded GOP field, nonetheless, as both Reps. John Fleming (R-LA)—a House Freedom Caucus member—and Charles Boustany (R-LA), an ally of leadership, are running for the seat, as are former U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao and state treasurer John Neely Kennedy. On the Democratic side, Caroline Fayard and Foster Campbell are both running—and both considered potential forces.
Maness, in 2014, gained national attention for rolling out significantly detailed policy platform papers—which showed a populist nationalism, as well as a streak of libertarianism—that focused on everything from border security to healthcare to national security to veterans issues to criminal justice reform and more. At a GOP unity event after the initial jungle primary with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—who aimed to bring everyone together behind Cassidy to defeat Landrieu—Maness delivered one of the most memorable speeches in recent political history.
Maness said as he took the stage at a Baton Rouge barroom:
It’s a great day to be an American, isn’t it? Sen. Paul, welcome to Louisiana. You’re in Tiger country! Tiger country! A sportsman’s paradise, the Pelican state. You’re in the home of swamp people and Duck Commander, the birthplace of jazz—the best music ever invented. We’re annually ranked the most pro-life state in America. We cling to our guns and religion. We love our crawfish, our gators, our music and we’ll find any reason for a festival or a parade—there’s 437 of them. And in 26 days, ladies and gentlemen, Mary Landrieu is going to have a lot more free time to enjoy every bit of it. Let me be clear here and now. Congressman Bill Cassidy has my full support and more importantly my vote on Dec. 6. You know, after 85,000 miles we got the truck an oil change and the tune-up it needed—and we can hit the road whenever you need me to. Dr. Cassidy, these next 26 days we’re going to make sure we finally bring Mary Landrieu home, where she belongs.
Maness was endorsed in 2014 by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who many expect will likely support him again in 2016.
This endorsement also represents a clear effort by Carson, after his exit from the 2016 GOP presidential race, to remain at the forefront of GOP politics by backing outsider candidates in Congressional races. Carson is working to build his influence and stature in the conservative movement, and reshape the political world, as he looks to the future.
Maness discussed his campaign on Breitbart News Daily with Stephen K. Bannon. Hear the audio: