Bobby Jindal Wins Louisiana Governor’s Race

Bobby Jindal has been elected governor of Louisiana.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal became the nation’s youngest governor and the first nonwhite to hold post in Louisiana since Reconstruction when he carried more than half the vote to defeat 11 opponents. Jindal, the Republican 36-year-old son of Indian immigrants, had 53 percent with 625,036 votes with about 92 percent of the vote tallied. It was more than enough to win Saturday’s election outright and avoid a Nov. 17 runoff.

“My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American Dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana,” he said to cheers and applause at his victory party.

His nearest competitors: Democrat Walter Boasso with 208,690 votes or 18 percent; Independent John Georges had 167,477 votes or 14 percent; Democrat Foster Campbell had 151,101 or 13 percent. Eight candidates divided the rest. “I’m asking all of our supporters to get behind our new governor,” Georges said in a concession speech.

The Oxford-educated Jindal had lost the governor’s race four years ago to Gov. Kathleen Blanco. He won a congressional seat in conservative suburban New Orleans a year later but was widely believed to have his eye on the governor’s mansion. Blanco opted not to run for re-election after she was widely blamed for the state’s slow response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.


Political analysts said Jindal built up support as a sort of “buyer’s remorse” from people who voted for Blanco last time and had second thoughts about that decision. Blanco was widely criticized for the state’s response to Hurricane Katrina and she announced months ago that she would not seek re-election. “I think the Jindal camp, almost explicitly, (wanted) to cast it this way: If you were able to revote, who would you vote for?” said Pearson Cross, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette political scientist.

Jindal has held a strong lead in the polls since the field of candidates became settled nearly two months ago. But the two multimillionaires in the race — Boasso, a state senator from St. Bernard Parish, and Georges, a New Orleans-area businessman — poured millions of their own dollars into their campaigns to try to prevent Jindal’s victory.

Jindal’s an impressive figure, a Rhodes Scholar who has been entrusted with incredibly high profile jobs since his early twenties. I remember reading about him in the Chronicle of Higher Education several years ago when he was appointed to run the state’s university system at the age of 28. From Wikipedia:

In 1995, U.S. Congressman Jim McCrery (R-LA) introduced his former aide (Jindal) to Republican Governor Murphy J. “Mike” Foster, Jr..[4] Foster subsequently appointed Jindal, then age of twenty-four, to be Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals, an agency then representing about 40 percent of the state’s budget; he served from 1996 to 1998. From 1998 to 1999, he was executive director of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. He was also the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana System between 1999 and 2001. Newly-elected President George W. Bush appointed him Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Planning and Evaluation; he held that post from 2001 to 2003.

Quite extraordinary, really.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Something for Democrats to remember: politics is local.

  2. Angevin13 says:

    First, Niki Tsongas defeats her no-name Republican opponent in uber-liberal Massachusetts by only 6 percentage points, now a Republican wins the Louisiana governorship. So much for that 2008 anti-Bush, anti-GOP landslide we keep hearing about. And so much for an MSM that does little else than carry water for the Democrats. If the MSM were interested in news, the fact that the Oxford-educated, Roman Catholic-converted, Republican son of Hindu immigrants just won the Louisiana gubernatorial election as the first non-white candidate in Louisiana since Reconstruction would be major news.

  3. Steph says:

    Louisiana has been saved!

    Now I wish someone would come and rescue Illinois from the democrat state rapists.

  4. Davebo says:

    A Rhodes scholar who supports teaching intelligent design in public schools.


    He’s an opportunist plain and simple.

  5. Bruce Moomaw says:

    I agree with Davebo: the most remarkable thing about him is that he’s promised to push teaching Intelligent Design in Louisiana’s schools.

    As for Angevin’s wishful thinking: Deval Patrick took that same Massachusetts district (the least Democratic in the state) by just 1% at the same time that he won the state of Massachusetts by 21 points last year; and Jindal’s Louisiana win — although personally impressive — seems to have been mostly a reaction to Kathleen Blanco’s own ten-thumbed performance after Katrina, which just proves that SOME politics is indeed local. If Angevin wants to see what’s really become of that huge margin the Dems had over the GOP in 2006 — namely, that it’s grown slightly huger — he/she is advised to look at the Web’s central compendium of political polls at “Polling Report”, and specifically at all the recent polls comparing Democratic and Republican popularity.

  6. Janis Gore says:

    Let’s try an exercise. How many non-white governors of any states have there been since Reconstruction?

    Douglas Wilder and Deval Patrick. The Hawaiians. Who else?

  7. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Democrat Gary Locke of Washington State — despite his name — was Oriental. Bill Richardson — despite his name — is at least mostly Hispanic (a fact that he never lets the voters forget).

    Of all these, the only one that really amazes me is Wilder in Virginia — 17 years before any other state in the Union. Robert E. Lee and Harry Byrd must have twirled in their graves.

  8. Janis Gore says:

    Thank you, Mr. Moomaw. I wasn’t aware of Mr. Locke.

  9. Bruce Moomaw says:

    There may very well be one or two more sprinkled in during the last couple of decades that I’ve missed.

  10. Bruce Moomaw says:

    Incidentally, the Democrats pretty much plastered the GOP in most other Louisiana races — which seems to confirm that Jindal, like Ahnold in our own state in last year’s elections (and quite a few Democratic and GOP guvernatorial candidates in other states), was pretty much an outlier. Last year Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Minnesota also reelected GOP governors, while Oklahoma, Kansas and Wyoming reelected Democratic ones (all of these except RI and Minnesota being landslides).