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Eye On Candidates
June 24, 2015

Jindal Set to Announce Today

The already-crowded Republican field for 2016 is scheduled to get a little more crowded this afternoon, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal expected to join the contest in an announcement scheduled for 4pm. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Bobby Jindal makes his big presidential announcement today: What to expect

Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to announce he is running for president shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. This decision has been months -- if not years -- in the making. 

Jindal has been traveling outside the state to early presidential primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina more frequently. Last month, Jindal announced he had formed a presidential exploratory committee, an all-but-sure sign that he is running in 2016. 

Jindal's gubernatorial staff has begun moving over to his campaign operations. The governor chief-of-staff Kyle Plotkin resigned abruptly from state government last Friday to work for the presidential campaign...

The Times-Picayune also notes elements of Jindal's campaign focus, status, and strategy:

Jindal will tout economic successes, government reductions in campaign.

Jindal's official pitch for the presidency will largely focus on Louisiana's economic successes as well as reductions he has made to state government workforce.

The governor's talking points will include positive spin on the state's  fast job growth during his two terms in office... He will also emphasize the reductions made to state government -- include the 30,000 state jobs he eliminated...

The governor will be a 'back of the pack' presidential candidate. 

Jindal may be spending a lot of time in presidential primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, but he still is performing very poorly in the polls.

In a survey of likely Iowa caucus goers last month, Jindal placed 14th out of 16 potential GOP candidates. Unless he makes it into the top 10 field, it's likely he will be left out of some of televised debates...

Jindal plans to focus on Iowa caucuses in his presidential campaign. 

 The Jindal campaign is placing an emphasis on Iowa, at least at first. The governor has been courting conservative Christian voters for months, who tend to be more of a factor in the Iowa caucuses than the New Hampshire primary. The Jindal campaign has hired staff to work in both states, but expect the governor to spend more of his time in Iowa.

The Washington Post also notes Jindal's back-of-the-pack status in an article this morning: this point, his chances of winning the GOP nomination seem extraordinarily low.

There are already 12 other major Republican candidates in the race, with several more expected to enter soon. And Jindal is running behind nearly all of them: Several recent polls have shown him at just 1 percent support among GOP voters, either last or tied for last.

In the most recent Fox News poll, the news was even worse. Jindal wasn't just behind all the other candidates, he was also behind "None of the Above," which got 2 percent...

As the Post explains, Jindal was once thought a "rising star" in the Republican Party but has struggled in recent years to convert that status into a strong presidential campaign:

Jindal's problems on the national stage began in 2009, when he was selected to give the GOP response to President Obama's first address to Congress. The response wound up being more memorable than the speech -- but not in a good way. Jindal seemed overly slow and over-earnest, like a man explaining the government to toddlers. People compared him to Kenneth the Page, the child-like character on NBC's comedy "30 Rock."

Since then, Jindal has tried to re-build his reputation among conservatives with a rigid anti-tax stance in Louisiana. In fact, legislators say, Jindal has often allowed the Washington-based group Americans for Tax Reform to dictate the details of his own budget policies.

The results was repeated blowups with the GOP-led state legislature, and threats of devastating cuts in the state budget...

That fighting over the budget -- and Jindal's frequent trips out of state -- also caused his in-state popularity to plummet. In his first year as governor, 77 percent of Louisianans thought he was doing a good job. By last month, the figure had fallen to 32 percent, an all-time low...

Alex Altman in Time magazine picks up on Jindal's falling home-state popularity and dismal poll numbers as well, but suggests Jindal is capable of righting the ship and making a serious bid for the GOP nomination:

Back home, Jindal’s support has cratered at the worst possible time. The Louisiana governor has watched his approval rating slip into the 30s; a recent poll showed him trailing Hillary Clinton in the GOP stronghold. The budget is a mess, and he’s alienated allies by spending long stretches away from the state to tend to his national ambitions. “Bobby spotted at the capitol,” Republican state senator Dan Claitor tweeted on April 1. “(April Fool).”

Jindal still has the policy chops and conservative credentials to snap his slide. He’s cut the budget, pushed school choice and privatized state hospitals. In recent months he’s refined a stump speech that earns rave reviews from the GOP faithful. There’s no question he has the potential to catch a wave like a succession of lesser candidates enjoyed in 2012...

There will likely be several "waves" that lower-tier candidates will have a chance to catch in the 2016 nomination fight, Jindal's challenge will be elbowing aside other candidates with just as much potential as he has.