Rob Maness, in red tie, is running for the U.S. Senate from Louisiana as a Republican. He spoke Jan. 14, 2014, to the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness is on the airwaves in his bid to unseat Democrat Mary Landrieu.

Maness, a tea party favorite who has never run for office, released his first TV and radio commercials Thursday, a $50,000 ad buy.

Both have the same message, of Maness being unafraid to take on career politicians, which he likens to facing down alligators in a Louisiana swamp.

The TV ad features Maness riding an airboat and wrapping tape around an alligator’s snout, as he talks about standing up to “big-spenders” and fighting to repeal the federal health care law.

Maness, a retired Air Force colonel whose fundraising has lagged behind GOP Congressman Bill Cassidy in the race, is one of three announced Republicans challenging Landrieu in the Nov. 4 election.

He got an assist Thursday from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who endorsed his candidacy, a move that could lift his profile in the race. In a statement, Palin praised Maness’ military service and his conservative positions and slammed Cassidy as a moderate who once supported Landrieu.

“Rob is the admitted underdog in this race. Having spent his career in uniform, he does not have deep pockets or lobbyist connections to fund his campaign. To me, it’s a blessing, not a curse that he’s not held office before,” Palin said.