Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana jumped into the 2016 presidential fray – he has quite a challenge to overcome considering the Republic field. He is quite young – 44 years of age and also the first Indian-American to run for the highest office. He was a rising star in the Republican Party and swept into office after Hurricane Katrina. He took over from Kathleen Blanco, who caught a lot of flak for not being able to cope with the aftermath of Katrina.
In the last few years, Governor Jindal has had to deal with a number of serious issues – the lBP oil spil, financial crisis and slumping popularity. He has to contend with well known personalities like Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Texas Governor Ricky Perry and also Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to name a few.
Mr. Jindal is well liked by conservatives and evangelical Christian groups but not as much by Republican colleagues in the state as they believe he is spending a lot of time campaigning and neglecting his state. His popularity is in the doldrums as he struggles to balance the budget – Louisiana is over $1.5 billion in the red thanks to steady tax rates and falling oil prices. He also has to deal with the fact that recent polls show that most Louisiana citizens back Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and not him.
Not only that in U.S.A state politics, his campaign is running short of funds and he is in last place in the Republic draw. Even though he managed to raise a lot of money in the past 3 months, his fundraising level lagged behind the other contenders. Money is a big indicator of a candidate’s viability and Jindal’s bid for presidency may be over. His campaign is at an end and it is a matter of when one accepts reality. Jindal supporters see it differently – they are very optimistic after his numbers edged upwards in an Iowa opinion poll. Jindal’s numbers tie him into 5th place.
Bobby Jindal has spent a lot of time in Iowa campaigning and courting the vote – his strategy is to build a strong base in Iowa and then compete in the caucuses and primaries. Given that the Republican field is a strong one this year, the odds may be stacked against him.
One aspect of the election that worked in his favor is the right of the independent PACs dedicated to candidates. Their impact in this election cycle is undeniable. Each and every Republic candidate can rely on super PAC support. Super PACs have access to unlimited donations from citizens and this has altered the way traditional campaigns are run. Jindal has tapped into the Believe Again super PAC fund bank and spent $2.5 million on TV commercials through the end of September. The only downside to the whole affair is that the total amount helping the Jindal camp is peanuts compared to what his rivals can access.
Even though a lot of funding is available, it cannot solve all campaign problems. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry found that out the hard way – even though he had $16 million in funds, he had to drop out of the race because his committee ran low on funds. Candidates cannot rely totally on their super PAC and have leverage in a campaign. Some of the issues that derailed the Perry and Walker campaigns were poor resources management. It remains to be seen what Jindal will do – his campaign had $261, ooo in the bank at the end of September and had spent a lot more in the preceding months.