An effort started six months ago to recall Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has fizzled, but the Opelousas man behind the petition will continue trying to oust the governor by running against him this fall.
Ron Ceasar would have needed to gather more than 908,000 verified signatures by early next week to get a recall election against Jindal. Fewer than five dozen have been registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office.
“We would need all of them by the deadline set. We have only 55 at present, and the deadline is July 5th,” Sailor Jackson, a spokesman for the Secretary of State Tom Schedler, said Friday.
No one has ever successfully gathered enough signatures to get a recall election scheduled against a statewide or parishwide official in Louisiana.
A full-time Ph.D. student at Southern University, Ceasar said he and his supporters brought in more signatures than what is on file with the Secretary of State’s Office, but he acknowledged the recall election won’t happen.
Instead, Ceasar, a 58-year-old registered independent, said he’s challenging Jindal in the Oct. 22 election. Ceasar said the recall petition helped him gain attention and supporters encouraged him to run against the governor.
“I have statewide name recognition right now. It might not be comparable to the governor, but they’re familiar of me being chair of the recall petition campaign,” said Ceasar, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1994.
Jindal, in office since 2008, hasn’t attracted major or well-funded opposition in his re-election bid so far. A Democratic school teacher from Haynesville, Tara Hollis, has said she’s running for the governor’s seat. The governor, seeking a second term, has more than $9 million in his campaign war chest.
Jindal’s office didn’t immediately respond Friday to a request for comment about the failed recall effort.
Ceasar’s petition was the fifth recall effort against Jindal to expire without success. Two were filed amid the height of complaints about a legislative pay raise bill that Jindal eventually vetoed.
When he filed his petition in December, Ceasar said he was upset with cuts the Jindal administration had levied on or supported for public colleges and health care services in Louisiana.
Ceasar called Jindal arrogant in the way he handled the reductions. On Friday, he criticized the governor again, claiming he overlooked women and minorities in appointments, hid information from the public and was beholden to special interest groups and large campaign donors.
“He has been bought and sold just like a slave,” Ceasar said.
At the time the petition was filed, Ceasar listed his wife as vice chair, but she later said she wasn’t involved with the effort. The sign-up period for the governor’s race is in September.