Tags: jindal | president | 2016

Many Open Doors Await Bobby Jindal

Image: Many Open Doors Await Bobby Jindal
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Wednesday, 18 Nov 2015 12:00 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Hours after the news Tuesday night that Bobby Jindal was suspending his bid for the Republican nomination for president, there was fresh speculation that the two-term governor of Louisiana would become a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

A Senate bid by Jindal would, of course, depend upon whether incumbent GOP Sen. David Vitter is elected as governor himself on Nov. 21, or, if defeated, he decides not to seek re-election to his present office in 2016.

The latest Market Research Insight poll showed that among likely voters statewide, Democrat John Bel Edwards leads Vitter by 52 percent to 38 percent The UNO Survey Research Center showed Edwards trouncing Vitter by 56 percent to 34 percent.

Although none wanted to say anything that would be considered harmful to Vitter’s chances of being elected, several state and national GOP leaders privately believe that, if he loses the governorship, the senator would most likely not run again for his present office in 2016.

"Since 1950, nine sitting U.S. Senators have run for governor in their respective states and seven have won. The two exceptions were Republican Sens. Irving Ives of New York in 1954 and William F. Knowland of California in 1958.

Ives lost one of New York's closest races for governor to Democrat Averill Harriman and retired from the Senate in 1958. Knowland lost the governorship to Democrat Pat Brown the same year he relinquished his Senate seat.

In the event of an open Senate seat next year resulting from Vitter’s resignation to become governor or his retirement, several Republicans have indicated they will run. Reps. Charles Boustany Jr. and John Fleming, both conservatives and both physicians, sent out strong signals they want to run if there is a Senate vacancy.

But Jindal, twice a winning candidate statewide and once a near-winner (in his first bid for governor in 2003), would be the favorite in an open seat situation.

“It's a possibility,” veteran GOP consultant Ford O’Connell said of a Senate bid by Jindal, “He's 44 and while his approval numbers aren't great back home, the Republican bench is weak in Louisiana and he is the only one with a state-wide infrastructure and name recognition.”

Given his background as a healthcare expert and former secretary of Louisiana’s Health and Hospitals Department, Jindal was assumed by many Republicans to be a potential secretary of Health and Human Services in a future Cabinet. That, of course, is assuming that the next president is a Republican.

Jindal has long been considered one of his party’s brightest stars. A top state administrator at 25 and president of the Louisiana State University System at 28, the Louisianan was the second-ever Indian-American to serve in Congress (the first was California Democrat Dalip Singh Saund, who served from 1956-62) ) and is today 1 of 2 governors of Indian heritage (the other is fellow Republican Nikki Haley of South Carolina).

But by the time he pursued the presidency this year, fresher faces such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz appeared on the scene and Jindal never gained enough traction to make it into the top tier of candidates in televised debates.

Even if Jindal doesn’t become senator or a Cabinet official, those who know him universally agree the governor’s future will be bright.

“Bobby will join a think-tank or foundation and serve on a few boards,” former Rep. Bob Livingston, R.-La., a close friend and early mentor of Jindal’s told me. “He’s one of the most intelligent people either of us will ever meet.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.



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Even if Jindal doesn’t become senator or a Cabinet official, those who know him universally agree the governor’s future will be bright.
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2015-00-18
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