Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wins re-election, defeats 9 challengers
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Saturday easily coasted to a second term, winning in a landslide election after failing to attract any well-known or deep-pocketed opposition.
The 40-year-old Republican overwhelmed nine competitors in the open primary, where a candidate wins the race outright if he or she receives more than 50 percent of the vote. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Jindal had received about 66 percent of the total vote.
His closest competitor, Tara Hollis, a Democrat from north Louisiana, garnered nearly 18 percent of the total vote. All of the other candidates were in single digits.
“I will use every day, every hour of these next four years to make Louisiana the very best that we can be. I don’t believe in resting on our past accomplishments. I don’t believe in taking time off,” Jindal told a packed hotel ballroom of supporters in Baton Rouge.
Jindal piled up $15 million in campaign cash from around the nation and attracted no Democratic challengers with statewide name recognition or fundraising heft. He’s had consistently high approval ratings since taking office in 2008.
His win comes amid the virtual collapse of the Democratic Party’s clout in the state. In the current term, Republicans have gained control of all seven statewide elected posts and both chambers of the legislature. Hollis was an outsider to the political establishment and was unable to drum up the cash needed to challenge Jindal or mount a big-ticket advertising competition.
The first Indian-American governor in the United States, Jindal is considered by some a possible presidential contender in the future. He recently published a book and regularly appears on national news shows, but he ruled out a 2012 run.
Still, his brand of conservatism and refusal to raise taxes has resonated outside the state. His new term begins in January.
The race that received more attention in Louisiana was the one for lieutenant governor, because the officeholder is next in line should Jindal step down because of his national political ambitions.
Incumbent Jay Dardenne, who took office after a special election last year, had 53 percent of the ballot in defeating Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser with 47 percent , results showed with 99 percent of precincts reporting. Like Jindal, Nungesser was a vocal critic of the federal response to the massive Gulf oil spill.