FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2014
ICYMI - E&E Highlights Maness #SolutionsforUs Energy Plan
"Maness pitches his campaign platform as "Solutions for Us," which includes proposals that Maness said will "unleash our energy sector" and "protect our environment at the same time."
Among his plans, Maness calls for relocating the Energy Department to Louisiana, a fanciful pitch he argued is necessary because in his view, federal employees fail to comprehend the oil and gas industry beyond major corporations with the means to lobby Washington, D.C. "It would get it out of the Beltway mentality and get them to where the real people doing the real oil and gas jobs are," Maness said, calling it "only natural to put the headquarters right here."
Other segments of Maness' energy pitch include expanded drilling on the outer continental shelf as well as expanding energy production on federal lands, while also "ending unnecessary and unreasonable environmental regulations" and reining in what he sees as overreach by U.S. EPA. Maness also pitches approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, pointing to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee's vote on the pipeline earlier this year, despite the measure's failure to reach the Senate floor..."
Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter
E&E Daily: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) is widely considered the GOP's best hope to capture Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D) seat this cycle, but first he needs to clear a few hurdles, including, perhaps unsurprisingly, another Republican.
Most political observers expect Landrieu's re-election bid to drag out into a December runoff with Cassidy -- a scenario born by the state's unusual open primary system and a crowded ballot.
While most of the half-dozen second-tier candidates vying in the race won't claim enough votes to make a dent in the contest's outcome, there is one exception: retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness (R).
According to a recent CBS News/New York Times/YouGov survey of 870 likely voters, Cassidy leads the all-party primary with support from 36 percent of respondents, followed by Landrieu with 33 percent and Maness with 10 percent. Another 11 percent of likely voters remained undecided in the Aug. 18-Sept. 2 survey, which had a 5-point margin of error.
But Maness, a political novice who frames himself as a constitutional conservative, doesn't buy into suggestions that he is merely a third wheel in a two-person race for one of the most contested Senate seats in the country this cycle.
"There's a lot of phrases like 'spoil the vote' and those kinds of things, but a lot of people don't understand how the election works here," Maness told E&E Daily in a recent interview.
Louisiana operates an unusual jungle-style primary, in which all candidates compete on Election Day and an outright victor can be declared if any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to a runoff contest in December.
Maness argues that the large Senate field -- which also includes a trio of relatively unknown Democrats, another Republican and a Libertarian -- all but guarantees a runoff featuring Landrieu, neutralizing arguments that his candidacy could prevent a Republican from winning the seat outright.
"Any of those votes are against Mary Landrieu. There is no such thing as splitting the vote in the Nov. 4 election," said Maness, a former Entergy Corp. executive.
Maness, who is a founding board member of the veterans group NOLA Patriots, also argued that internal polling conducted by his campaign found that Cassidy "could not outright defeat her by getting more than 50 percent on Nov. 4."
The Republican also pointed repeatedly to a late August poll conducted by the Senate Conservative Fund that showed Maness taking 16 percent of the vote in the open primary.
The political action committee, which has endorsed Maness, also released head-to-head matchups between Landrieu and both Maness and Cassidy.
Both showed hypothetical runoffs in a dead heat, but Maness led Landrieu 47 percent to 45 percent, while Cassidy trailed her 45 percent to 46 percent. The survey of 700 adults had a 3.7-point margin of error.
"About the only thing you can get out of polls at this point ... is the senator has been dropping consistently, the congressman, up until recently, has been maintaining a level at the mid-30s, and I've been increasing," Maness said.
Maness credits those increases in poll numbers to an active ground campaign that includes 50 town hall-style meetings, of which he has completed more than 30 since announcing his bid in May 2013.
"We are breaking out, and here's how we're doing it: We've spent 16 months on the road. I've put 75,000 miles on my pickup truck," said Maness, who also touted his campaign's five "grass-roots headquarters."
"That's why we're getting traction, because we're going back around the state doing these town halls," he later added. "We don't really care what the Democrats and Republicans in Washington are talking about; we care about what Louisiana voters are thinking about."
Despite Maness' confidence, most political observers agree that his chances of landing in the runoff are small at best.
"It would be incredibly difficult for him to do that," said Jeremy Alford, editor of the website LaPolitics.com.
Although Maness had raised $1.5 million at the end of July, according to the Center for Responsive Politics -- and told E&E Daily he expects to hit $2 million before November -- Alford noted that that sum will make it difficult to compete with Landrieu and Cassidy, both of whom reported more than $5.5 million in the bank at that time.
Still, Maness is having an impact on the race, Alford said, noting: "Folks with the Cassidy campaign have likened Rob Maness to a political fly that they just can't swat away from their face; they wish they could just focus on Mary Landrieu full-time."
He added: "Bill Cassidy would be much better positioned to try to take a primary victory if Rob Maness would have dropped out."
Another Republican in the race, state Rep. Paul Hollis, bowed out in July and endorsed Cassidy. Hollis also filed the recent court challenge questioning whether Landrieu was eligible to be on the ballot based on the fact that she owns property in Washington, D.C. A judge dismissed the challenge earlier this month (Greenwire, Sept. 5).
Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, suggested that even if Maness opted out of the Senate race, it wouldn't guarantee a November victory for Cassidy.
"It's tough to evaluate scenarios in a vacuum," Gonzales said. "Even if Maness weren't in the race, there are still other candidates, and if Maness weren't in the race ... maybe there would have been someone else."
He explained that if Maness hadn't opted into the race, another anti-establishment candidate likely would have popped up to fill that role, "but since he's in the race, it makes it very difficult for Cassidy to get across in November."
Alford echoed that sentiment, noting that in the early months of the 2014 cycle, some Louisiana Republicans privately voiced concerns that Cassidy was neither as conservative nor as religious as they might like.
"If another candidate would have come along and thrown out a few constitutional quips here and there, and made a push toward the tea party, they could be in the same position. Rob Maness just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Alford said.
Move DOE to La.
Maness pitches his campaign platform as "Solutions for Us," which includes proposals that Maness said will "unleash our energy sector" and "protect our environment at the same time."
Among his plans, Maness calls for relocating the Energy Department to Louisiana, a fanciful pitch he argued is necessary because in his view, federal employees fail to comprehend the oil and gas industry beyond major corporations with the means to lobby Washington, D.C.
"It would get it out of the Beltway mentality and get them to where the real people doing the real oil and gas jobs are," Maness said, calling it "only natural to put the headquarters right here."
Other segments of Maness' energy pitch include expanded drilling on the outer continental shelf as well as expanding energy production on federal lands, while also "ending unnecessary and unreasonable environmental regulations" and reining in what he sees as overreach by U.S. EPA.
Maness also pitches approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, pointing to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee's vote on the pipeline earlier this year, despite the measure's failure to reach the Senate floor.
"I'm running against a senator who's running on her clout -- she has no clout," Maness said, referring to Landrieu's efforts to tout her Energy and Natural Resources Committee gavel as she seeks re-election.
Maness has also made spending reforms a plank in his platform, vowing to pass legislation banning so-called pork spending from disaster relief bills.
"We're not talking about whether someone will approve disaster relief or not; we're talking about wasting our tax dollars," Maness said.
He also promotes a "Contract with Louisiana," a 12-point plan that includes promises to "pop the door off the hinges" in his office to show he will give preference to Louisiana voters over lobbyists, and to limit himself to two terms.
In his plan, Maness also vows that he will not ask voters to "put your faith in me," adding: "Faith should be reserved for the Almighty, not politicians."
Maness, who claims the endorsement of the Tea Party Express but not the Tea Party of Louisiana, likes to emphasize his outsider status in the race that is largely between two incumbent lawmakers: "The Washington insiders like the two I'm running against, they care more about their party politics and the things going on inside the Beltway and they're not in touch with the people of Louisiana."