Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to announce later this month what most political observers have seen coming for a while: He’s seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2016.
According to Jindal’s political advisers, he’ll make a “major announcement regarding the 2016 presidential election” at a yet-to-be-disclosed location in New Orleans on June 24.
“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement Wednesday. “If I decide to announce on June 24th that I will seek the Republican nomination for president, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. We don’t need just small changes, we need a dramatically different path.”
Jindal has been flirting with a 2016 run for several months — making frequent trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and other states to woo potential primary voters. Last month, he announced the formation of a 2016 exploratory committee, but he has said he wouldn’t make a formal announcement until after the legislative session ends next week.
Meanwhile, the exploratory committee already has planned a fundraiser and an invite-only reception in Baton Rouge on June 27 — with responses requested within days of when he’s expected to announce his 2016 intentions.
The announcement will add Jindal’s name to the long list of Republicans hoping to break through a crowded field and land the party’s nomination, including U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas; Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina; Rand Paul, of Kentucky; and Marco Rubio, of Florida. Already announced are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania; neurosurgeon Ben Carson; former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; and former New York Gov. George Pataki. Several more are expected to enter the race in the coming months.
On national and state-specific polls, Jindal has lagged near the back of the pack, scoring low single digits among likely Republican voters.
Political observers frequently have noted a hurdle for Jindal would be his low polling in Louisiana and the state’s budget problems.
Jindal, 43, is finishing up his second term as governor and can’t seek re-election because of term limits. June 24 falls two weeks, to the day, after his 44th birthday.
According to event invitations obtained by The Advocate, a reception at the Governor’s Mansion on June 27 will feature LSU football coach Les Miles and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.
A separate event, slated for the Hilton Hotel in Baton Rouge that same evening, will set attendees back $2,700 per person or $5,400 per couple.
Over the past year, Jindal has ramped up appearances on conservative television and talk radio shows, and shifted his focus toward highlighting national policy proposals on health care and foreign policy, among other topics.
He has especially courted conservative Christian voters. Another frequent theme has been criticism directed at President Barack Obama, though Jindal also recently drew national headlines when he took aim at Paul, a fellow Republican.
The Paul statement, which slammed the Kentucky senator over his remarks blaming Republicans for the growth of Islamic terrorists, came from the Governor’s Office and prompted a recommendation from the state Inspector General that Jindal refrain from using his taxpayer-funded office for targeting potential political enemies.
A super political action committee formed by Jindal’s political allies also has created a funding mechanism for a possible Jindal run. The Believe Again super PAC notes on its website that its goal is to “advocate for the election of Governor Jindal as President if he chooses to seek that office.”