Friday, 01 April 2011 18:37

Jindal Re-Election Machine Raising Dough With Opponents Saying No

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Jeff CrouereIn recent weeks, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal focused on the home front, raising money and starting his re-election campaign. With a massive campaign war chest of $9.6 million and growing, Jindal is in the catbird seat for his re-election.  

He is no longer considered a presidential contender, but could certainly be tapped for a cabinet position if a Republican candidate wins the White House. Over the next few months, he will not schedule too many out of state fundraisers and political events but will likely stay in campaign mode by staying in the state, asking voters to re-elect him as Governor. Despite $9.6 million in the bank and no opponents on the horizon, Jindal is campaigning like an underdog challenger. Television commercials have begun to air across the state, while personalized phone calls have started to chronic Republican voters asking for volunteer and financial support.  

The Governor has also continued his aggressive fundraising schedule within the state. Last Tuesday, a Hammond business executive, Mike Worley, hosted a $1,000 per plate cocktail reception at his office. On Thursday April 14, Jindal will be featured at a Covington, LA fundraising event at Tchefuncta Country Club. This event will also include a $1,000 donor level. It will be hosted by long time GOP activist and businessman Lane Carson. The event includes an extensive host committee featuring dozens of prominent St. Tammany Parish Republicans.   

His most viable opponent, Democrat attorney and former Lt. Governor candidate Caroline Fayard has created the wrong type of headlines this week. In an address to the Washington Parish Democratic Party, Fayard went on the offensive against Republicans calling them “cruel and destructive.” For good measure, she claimed they “eat their young. They don’t think. They don’t allow people to think. They are bullies.” Despite the negative reaction to these remarks, Fayard is moving forward in exploring a challenge to Jindal. This week, she met with the Chairman of the Democratic Governor Association to review her options.  

Other than Fayard, Jindal does not have any other viable opponents at the present time, but that does not mean that he will cruise to re-election. A recent Southern Media poll showed that Jindal’s approval rating has declined significantly in the last two years, although it is still over 50 percent. Despite the lack of opponents, Jindal is not universally beloved in the state. Most liberals have opposed his agenda and many African Americans have been upset about his lack of outreach to their community. True conservatives have been very disappointed in his tepid reform agenda. While he had a real chance to change the structure of state government, he chose to tinker around the edges.  

With the election season beginning, it is the perfect time to gauge opinions on whether Jindal deserves a second term. To register your vote, please go to my website and cast your vote. As of today, the vast majority of the Ringside poll participants do not believe Jindal deserves another term. While this is very unscientific, the results are nonetheless interesting.

Some Republicans are encouraging former Elections Commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell to jump into the race for Governor. She has not expressed any particular interest in the race, but is a well-respected political leader who remains the only Republican woman to have won statewide office.  

If Jindal has to face two serious opponents in the fall, the electoral equation may change radically. In the meantime, the Governor will need to navigate a challenging legislative session and make sure the final results are not detrimental to his re-election chances.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at E-mail him at [email protected].


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