BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A well-known Republican says he’s resigning from the Republican party because it’s his “duty to oppose illegal activities and corruption,” making reference to a growing controversy over a push to resolve a tie in the Senate District 16 race.
Ret. Col. Rob Maness, a frequent Republican candidate for office in Louisiana, posted his letter of resignation from the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee to his Facebook page Thursday, Oct. 17.
The registrar of voters is currently recounting mail-in ballots for the Senate 16 race. Baton Rouge Republican Reps. Franklin Foil and Steve Carter are tied for second place, and would each advance to a runoff against Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson if the recount does not break the tie.
It would be the 12th time in state history three candidates advanced to a runoff, and the first time three candidates advanced in a race for a seat in the legislature.
Fearing the Democrat might benefit from a split Republican vote, GOP donor, Lane Grigsby, told The Advocate he offered to support Foil’s candidacy for a judgeship if Foil agreed to drop out of the race.
He says he made the offer to Foil through Sen. Dan Claitor, District 16′s term-limited senator who is supporting Foil as his replacement. Claitor told The Advocate he was appalled by the offer.
“Don’t paint me to be a kingmaker,” Grigsby told The Advocate. “I’m not. I’m just trying to resolve a dilemma."
He later told the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, a WAFB news partner, "I’m a kingmaker. I talk from the throne, but I hadn’t colluded with anybody. It was an effort on my part to resolve a dilemma that is facing the Senate district I live in.”
Maness scolded Grigsby, and said he would register now as an Independent.
“Grigsby openly bragged in the media today about trying to illegally influence an election in Baton Rouge with his power and money,” Maness wrote. “This brazen public pronouncement is appalling and, unfortunately, not the first time I’ve come across political corruption in Louisiana.”