Woody Jenkins, who came within a few thousand votes of beating U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the 1996 race, threw his support Friday to Rob Maness, the tea party-backed Republican in the Senate race.

The other major Republican in the Nov. 4 election is U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who, like Jenkins, is from Baton Rouge. Maness, who has retired from the U.S. Air Force and from Entergy Corp., is from Madisonville.

Jenkins also chairs the East Baton Rouge Parish Republican Party and once served in the state Legislature. He said in a prepared statement: “Based on my personal knowledge of the candidates, their philosophies, and their voting records, Col. Maness is the outstanding choice. He is a true conservative, a real leader, and an articulate spokesman for the free enterprise system, a strong national defense, controlling illegal immigration, the right to life, and adherence to the Constitution.”

Maness expressed his gratitude in a prepared statement. “Woody is one of our party’s and our state’s best leaders,” he said.

Maness also has received support from Republican U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Mike Lee, of Utah.