Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that he backs Louisiana GOP fundraising efforts to create a more conservative Legislature.
The Republican governor told supporters in an email that $700,000 has been raised with the goal of reaching $2 million in contributions for a “victory fund” to help conservative candidates.
“It is critically important for Louisiana’s future that we elect more conservative reformers to the State House and State Senate who will work with us to streamline government, keep taxes low, and produce the economic conditions that will create jobs for our people,” Jindal wrote in his email.
Republicans already hold a majority of the seats in the Louisiana House and the state Senate after the defection of a number of Democrats to the GOP.
State GOP Executive Director Jason Dore said the Republican foothold does not mean that reforms and conservative proposals are passing the chambers.
Key parts of the governor’s legislative package faltered in the recent regular session. Jindal’s proposals to merge two New Orleans universities, to sell prisons and to shrink state workers’ pay died.
Over the governor’s objections, legislators embraced putting the renewal of a 4-cent cigarette tax on the October ballot.
Dore said the goal of the fundraising is to strengthen the chambers’ Republican majorities.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., already has a group, called the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, that also aims to elect conservative leaders.
Vitter asked for contributions for the group last month when he publicly backed Jindal’s re-election bid. The senator said at the time that the contributions were necessary to help Jindal become as bold as possible in the next four years.
In his email Wednesday, Jindal said the GOP’s victory fund — “unlike other efforts” — can more directly coordinate with candidates.
Vitter’s spokesman did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment on the governor’s support of the GOP’s efforts.
Dore said Vitter’s group faces limitations because it was organized as a political action committee. “PACs can’t work directly with campaigns,” he said.
Dore said the state GOP can use contributions to mail information to voters on a candidate’s behalf.
Exactly who is contributing to those efforts will be unclear.
Dore said the contributions will be mingled with the rest of the money the party raises.