Democratic state Sen. Rob Marionneaux said Friday he will not challenge Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s re-election bid.
“After much thoughtful consideration and prayer, my family and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the time for us to embark on a campaign for governor of the Great State of Louisiana,” Marionneaux said in a statement issued by his office.
“It is however, a distinct probability in the future,” the 42-year-old Grosse Tete lawyer added.
Marionneaux’s decision comes as candidate sign-up is set to begin Tuesday for the Oct. 22 statewide elections.
A state Republican Party poll released Thursday found that six of 10 likely Louisiana voters support Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Marionneaux, who is term-limited, was considered the Democratic Party’s last hope for a major candidate to challenge Jindal.
“I don’t think there’s anybody else out there,” said Roy Fletcher, who is working as a political consultant for the Jindal campaign. “I think the nail is in the coffin. … They have nobody else.”
Haynesville schoolteacher Tara Hollis, a Democrat, is in the race but she has little money and lacks widespread name recognition.
Marionneaux could not be reached for comment. Messages left at his law office and a call to his cell phone were not returned.
State Democratic Party executive director Renee Lapeyrolerie said voter surveys of the race were “encouraging for Rob and others.” But, she said, “this was not the right time for Rob, based on the priorities he’s articulated.”
Jindal campaign aide Timmy Teepell said Marionneaux’s decision was a tough one to make. “But I think that there will be a number of other candidates who qualify next week,” he said.
Louisiana gubernatorial elections usually attract a number of lesser-known candidates who are not well-financed.
“It is getting awfully late for a candidate to put together the organization and money to run,” Teepell said.
Jindal’s amended campaign finance report shows he had $8.8 million in cash on hand as of July 14, the last reporting period.
Jindal has continued to raise money for his re-election bid, traveling out of state to do so. The Jindal campaign is also spending money, reporting $1.1 million in expenditures between April 16 and July 14.
Marionneaux is chairman of the Louisiana Senate’s tax oversight committee and has promoted elimination of the state’s income tax.
The senator is also fighting state ethics charges related to his representation of clients in a dispute with LSU.
As he bowed out, Marionneaux said he would “continue to be a voice for working families, small businesses, seniors and students.
“As my service in the state Senate comes to an end it does not mean the end of me speaking up on the important issues that will shape our state in the future,” Marionneaux’s statement said.
He said he would speak up “when the special interests and big corporations continue to seek special tax breaks, which already exceed $7 billion, at the expense of working families in Louisiana.
He said he would continue his public service “as a private citizen, as a businessman, as a father and husband.”