The crowded Republican presidential field is growing by the minute, although expected Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced on Monday afternoon, May 18, 2015 that he is launching a presidential exploratory committee. Jindal, 43 released a statement and launched what is widely considered a campaign website, but now is specifically for the exploratory committee. The Louisiana governor will make his final decision about running after June 11, the end of Louisiana’s legislative session.
In his statement, Jindal indicated why he decided to consider a presidential run, “For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency of our great nation. If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
The Louisiana Governor also explained what his different path consists of, and his plan and position on the major issues, “While other Republican leaders are talking about change, I’ve published detailed plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, rebuild America’s Defenses, make America energy independent, and reform Education for our nation’s children. So today I’m announcing the launch of an exploratory committee, which will help me to decide whether to seek our party’s nomination.”
The message on his exploratory committee’s website, seems to make it clear that Jindal wants to run, “We must fight to make sure the next generation is not the first generation to inherit fewer opportunities than their parents. Will you join me?” The exploratory committee allows Jindal to “test the waters” raise and spend money, hire staff and volunteers.
Jindal actions in the past couple of months indicate that he is planning a bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Jindal has visited the requisite early primary states, and has tested his path, which he calls the need to “restore the American Dream,” frequently criticizing President Obama and his “weak leadership.” Just this past weekend he spoke at the Republican Party of Iowa’s Lincoln Dinner as one of 11 GOP candidates making their case in the make or break state.
Despite being, a two-term governor and was the youngest governor at the time of his election in 2008 at 36. He has a “compelling” background story as the son of India immigrants, is a devout Catholic and a Rhodes Scholar. Still Jindal has not resonated on the national stage and in the polls. After being considered a promising newcomer and hope for the Republican Party, he fell flat in his first national effort, when he was given the task of giving the official Republican response to President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2009. Then after the Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election, he said the GOP needs to “stop being the stupid party.” Since these mishaps, Jindal has not rebounded in national standings.
As part of the GOP field Jindal is polling in the single digits near the bottom of the field. His approval numbers in Louisiana are even less impressive, and could spell trouble for his nascent campaign. Currently Jindal has a 31.8 percent job approval rating and 64.7 percent disapproval rating, worse than President Barack Obama’s poll numbers in the state. Jindal’s low numbers are partly because of the state’s growing deficit, but he refuses to raise taxes, the governor blames the decline oil prices on the state’s economic woes.
Although Jindal has the support of social conservatives and evangels in Iowa, the home of the first nominating contest, the Iowa caucus, Jindal would face a “battle” to win the GOP nomination. There are already six candidates that have officially declared their candidacies, and four more that will make it official by the end of the month. Front-runners including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker sit at the top of field in the polls and fundraising without official declarations.
Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University, and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.