| Robert Leon "Rob" Maness|
(Retired Air Force colonel
|Born|| November 14, 1961 |
Fort Lewis, Washington
Resident of Madisonville,
|Spouse||Candance "Candy" Sue Blackburn Maness|
Robert Leon Maness, known as Rob Maness (born November 14, 1961), is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force, a Republican-turned Independent, and Tea Party figure in his adopted U.S. state of Louisiana.
On November 18, 2017, Maness was an unsuccessful candidate in the special election runoff to fill the unexpired term of District 77 state Representative John Schroder. In the first round of voting on October 14, Maness led a four-candidate field with 3,126 votes (37 percent). In the second round of balloting, however, he was defeated by Covington City Council member and fellow Republican Mark Wright, who polled 2,125 votes (25 percent) in the primary.</ref> Schroder instead ran successfully for state treasurer in the same special election runoff against the African-American Democrat Derrick Edwards, a lawyer confined to a wheelchair after sustaining a football injury. The treasurer's position opened when John Neely Kennedy resigned to become the state's junior U.S. Senator. A move to draft Maness for the treasurer's race developed, but he instead ran for the legislature. Had he sought the treasurer's position, Maness would have faced among others fellow Republicans John Schroder and state Senator Neil Riser, a funeral home owner in Columbia in Caldwell Parish, who polled 18 percent of the ballots cast in the treasurer's race.
Born to a military family in Fort Lewis, Washington, Maness holds three master's degrees. He was an unsuccessful Republican U.S. Senate candidate in 2014, when he lost out to fellow Republican Bill Cassidy of Baton Rouge, who unseated then sitting Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of New Orleans. Maness endorsed Cassidy in the runoff contest against Landrieu. Maness was endorsed in the primary election by the Senate Conservatives Fund and such luminaries as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States. Maness polled 202,556 votes (13.8 percent).
The U.S. Senator David Vitter supported Bill Cassidy in the 2014 campaign, but Maness endorsed Vitter to succeed fellow Republian Bobby Jindal as governor. Meanwhile, Jindal was an unsuccessful contender for his party's 2016 presidential nomination. Maness's political action committee called Gator PAC has been active in several state campaigns, including the unsuccessful effort in 2015 to elect Vitter as governor. Upon his defeat for governor, Vitter announced that he would not seek a third term in the Senate in 2016.
Maness received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida, and his master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He attended the Air Command and Staff College and the College of Naval Warfare. He and his wife, Candace, reside in Madisonville in St. Tammany Parish in suburban New Orleans. The couple has five children.
In December 2015, Maness announced his candidacy to succeed Vitter in the Senate. With 90,812 votes (5 percent), Maness finished sixth in the primary election on November 8, 2016, held in conjunction with the U.S. presidential election in which Donald Trump handily carried the state over Hillary Clinton. The two leading Senate candidates, state Treasurer John Neely Kennedy, a Democrat-turned-Republican, and veteran Democratic former state senator and current Public Service Commissioner Foster Lonnie Campbell, Jr., met in a December 10 runoff election for the right to succeed Vitter. Kennedy won a large victory over Campbell. Eliminated in the primary were Republican U.S. Representatives Charles Boustany of Lafayette and John Fleming of Minden, two physicians who gave up presumably safe House seats for the Senate race. David Duke, a former figure in the Ku Klux Klan, who joined the GOP in 1989, finished seventh with 58,581 votes (3 percent).
Maness in 2016 received some 112,000 fewer votes than he had in the 2014 Senate election and had been urged to drop out of the race to support the equally conservative Fleming, who led in six parishes but finished fifth in the voting. Maness and Fleming both pursued positions with the Trump administration in Washington, D.C., but thus far only Fleming was successful in that regard.
In the last days of the state legislative contest, Maness criticized national Republican leaders for calling upon conservative Roy Moore to withdraw from the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama after allegations surfaced that Moore while in his early thirties had engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least six teen-aged girls. Maness contends that Moore should continue his race as no legal charges have been filed in any of the incidents. When David Bellinger, a liberal caller to a radio show, called Maness "an extremist," the candidate told the caller to "blow me and get out of here." Columnist Stephanie Grace said that Maness' crude remark shows that his skin is "too thin" for public office. The outburst may have cost Maness dearly. He received 3,154 votes (42 percent) to Wright's 4,383 (58 percent). Maness has hence lost three consecutive political races in his adopted home state.
On October 4, 2018, Maness launched The Rob Maness Show, a political forum carried daily on CRTV.
In 2019, Maness confirmed that he had left the GOP and re-registered as an Independent. He opposed [Eddie Rispone]], the remaining Republican in the gubernatorial contest on November 16 against the Democratic incumbent John Bel Edwards. Maness claimed that Rispone represents everything in politics that should be reversed. The condemnation came after Maness challenged Rispone's remarks critical of Governor Edwards' West Point service, particularly after Rispone declined to enlist during the Vietnam War. Maness said that he supported U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham in the first round of voting but would not follow Abraham's lead in endorsing Rispone. Still, Maness claimed that he does "not endorse" Edwards but remained strongly opposed to Rispone.
- Rob Maness. ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on November 20, 2015.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 14, 2017.
- Sara Pagones (September 24, 2017). Four candidates vying for Louisiana House seat left open by John Schroder's departure. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on September 28, 2017.
- Draft Col. Rob Maness for Louisiana State Treasurer. Facebook. Retrieved on May 27, 2017.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 8, 2016). Retrieved on November 10, 2016.
- Tyler Bridges (November 9, 2016). Foster Campbell seen as facing steep climb in U.S. Senate race against John Kennedy. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on November 10, 2016.
- Stephanie Grace (November 15, 2017). Maness telling radio show caller 'blow me' proves his skin too thin for public office. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on November 16, 2017.
- Election Returns. Louisiana Secretary of State (November 18, 2017). Retrieved on November 18, 2017.
- The Rob Maness Show. Opslens.com. Retrieved on October 31, 2018.
- A Louisiana Veteran Responds. You Tube (November 2, 2019). Retrieved on November 3, 2019.