September 24, 2003


Meet Bobby Jindal: The fast-talking conservative who could be the next governor of Louisiana. (Ramesh Ponnuru, September 5, 2003, National Review)

Bobby Jindal is a fast talker. He has to be, to get through all the ideas he has about what he'll do if he wins the race for governor of Louisiana. Ask him about the state's economy, or health care, or education, and you'll generally get a quick four-point response.

On education, for example, Jindal wants school choice, including private schools. He wants more charter schools: "The Fordham Foundation gave our charter-school process a D. It's too politicized." He is for paying teachers more "but also treating them as professionals" -- which means they will have to be regularly certified and paid on the basis of results. He thinks universities should be able to help schools without worrying about restrictive union rules.

Jindal's first order of business on the economic front would be to eliminate three corporate taxes: the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, the corporate franchise tax, and the property tax on offshore equipment. Few other states have such taxes, and as a result, he says, Louisiana is losing business. In the long run, Jindal would like to see income taxes brought down. He has taken Grover Norquist's no-tax-hike pledge.

I think that all took about three minutes.

But speed is only the third thing you notice about Jindal. The first is that he's of Indian descent; his parents moved to Louisiana just before he was born. The second is that he's young: He just turned 32 in June. [...]

Jindal is one of three Republican candidates for governor. The first round of the election is on October 4. A runoff will take place a month later. Earlier this year, Democrats were boasting that they would win the top two slots and that the runoff would thus be an all-Democrat affair. They had two candidates who hold statewide office, lieutenant governor Kathleen Blanco and attorney general Richard Ieyoub. Republicans, including those working for Jindal's campaign, were worried that their party would not coalesce sufficiently to prevent that scenario. Some worry still remains - Jindal would certainly like it if the other two Republicans dropped out - but the Democratic boasting has faded as the polls have changed. The latest one has Jindal within one point of Blanco, the leading candidate. (Ieyoub has now slipped to third place among the Democrats and fourth overall.)

CA may just be the start of an ugly Fall for the Democrats, with GOP gubernatorial candidates also poised to run well in LA, MS, and KY.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 24, 2003 9:33 PM

I think the current LA governor is a Republican (Foster) so a Jindel win would be a hold, not a pickup. I think the other 2 states would be pickups.
It was thought Foster could have easily beaten Landreau for the Senate seat in 2002 but he didn't run. Perhaps if Breaux retires he will run and create a potential GOP senate pickup.

Posted by: AWW at September 24, 2003 10:47 PM

Isn't Foster MS and that would be a hold if Barbour wins?

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2003 11:24 PM

OJ - From various political sites.
LA - the incumbent is Foster (GOP) who is term limited. LA's runoff system to replace him has four major candidates (Jindel is the top GOP) but like the 2002 Senate race their is a runoff system so Jindel would have to finish 1st or 2nd and then win the runoff. If Jindel (or the other GOP candidate) doesn't win this would be a Dem pickup
MS - the incumbent is Musgrove who has been hurt by some scandals. Musgrove is being challenged by Barbour (former RNC head) so this would be a GOP pickup if Barbour wins.
KY - the incumbent is Patten who has been hurt by scandals and isnt't running. Dem candidate is Chandler the attorney general. GOP candidate is Fletcher (US Congressman). A Fletcher win would be a GOP pickup.

Posted by: AWW at September 25, 2003 7:22 AM

Thanks! Did you see any polling numbers? Last I saw Fletcher was winning but that was from like June.

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2003 7:46 AM

Fletcher in KY is a physician, a former Air Force fighter pilot, and a former minister. Quite a resume. But, he currently is US Congressman representing 6th Cong. District.

Any political hack can be governor in KY. I want to see Fletcher stay in Congress, where he's really needed.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 25, 2003 8:25 AM

OJ - I didn't see polling numbers for KY. Larry Sabato's sight (Crystal ball) said Fletcher was a bit ahead but not nearly as much as one would expect given the GOP lean in KY and Chandler's ties to a scandal-tarred governor. Sabato was too pessimistic on the 2002 election results (I think he had the GOP losing 2 GOP seats) so maybe Fletcher is in better shape than he implies.

Posted by: AWW at September 25, 2003 10:14 AM

GOP lean? When was the last GOP governor of KY?

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2003 10:23 AM

OJ: AWW is right.

Kentucky has 6 Representatives in Congress; 5 are Republicans. The two US Senators are Republicans.
The last Republican governor was Louie Nunn in the 1960's.

But, the Kentucky Senate has finally become controlled by the Republicans. Yeah, there is a GOP lean.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at September 25, 2003 11:02 AM

I agree the seat's winnable, but not winning a seat for forty years would tend to suggest it's hard.

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2003 11:10 AM

John - thanks for the backup
OJ - in trying to maintain the high quality of this site I try not to spread falsehoods

Posted by: AWW at September 25, 2003 11:55 AM

I like Jindal -- Ben Domenech has been on this story for a while -- but as someone descended from inhabitants of that wretched hellhole, I'd like to officially say the guy's got zero chance. I think he'll pick up the Southwest of the state, and maybe, just maybe, a good chunk of the North, but he has zero chance around New Orleans and his home (Baton Rouge).

Posted by: Chris at September 25, 2003 12:55 PM

Ben Domenech links to a poll which shows Jindel at 22% and the 2 Dem contenders at 14%. Jindel might pull this out afterall.

Posted by: AWW at September 27, 2003 11:25 PM