Rob Maness delivered a fiery speech in support of his former rival Rep. Bill Cassidy at a Republican unity rally on Monday.
He shared the stage not only with Cassidy, but also with current U.S. senators, a governor and maybe even a future president. The political novice more than held his own among the crowd of seasoned veterans; he arguably did the best job at firing up the crowd.
Maness will be as active on the campaign trail as Cassidy wants him to be, but his name may once again find its way onto a ballot. He said he ran for Senate to be a voice for conservatives who didn't feel they were being represented, and he'd consider running again if he felt called to do so.
"If the people of Louisiana say [they need a fighter] again, I will listen, and I would hope others like me would step forward and shoulder that same burden and take up the banner of conservative values, American values and Louisiana values," Maness said.
Maness garnered about 203,000 votes, or about 14 percent of the total vote, in the primary. That was a distant third-place finish, but it's better than anyone outside the political class has done in Louisiana in recent memory. Each election a number of non-politicians run for Senate, but none of them dating back to at least the 1980s have ever done as well as Maness.
Nor have they raised the more than $2 million Maness was able to bring in with the help of nationally prominent political figures like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.
"We gave the voters someone to vote for and the principles and ideas to vote for instead of vote against," Maness said.
LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere said in a statement he believes Maness has a bright future in Louisiana
"More than 200,000 Louisiana voters, many of them first time Republican voters, cast their ballots for Col. Maness and respect the honor and principled conservative leadership that he has shown," Villere said. "Col. Maness, his family and the many campaign staff members and volunteers who assisted him worked very hard for the past year. I believe that it is important for the Republican Party of Louisiana to acknowledge their efforts."
In addition to helping Cassidy when called upon, Maness said he will continue to be active in St. Tammany Parish Republican associations and spend time with his family. His next opportunity to run for office will be next year for state level offices or the 2016 Senate race, if U.S. Sen. David Vitter is elected governor.
"We made the tent for the GOP bigger. That tells me the people in the country and the cities still believe in America," Maness said. "They just need someone to step up and give them inspiration."