Up until today it seemed that by 2009 the United States would have its first Indian American Governor in Piyush “Bobby” Jindal of Louisiana. You can read my most recent entry about it here. No more. Jindal went from a shoe-in to what some might consider an underdog in the span of a single day. Via Politico:
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D) announced she’s not running for re-election this evening at the state Capitol, setting the stage for former Sen. John Breaux (D) to enter the race.
“I am choosing to do what is best for my state. I will focus my time and energy on the people’s work, not politics. After much prayer, I have decided I will not seek reelection as your governor,” said Blanco in her address at the governor’s mansion.
Breaux is currently asking the state attorney general for an opinion on his residency status. Though Breaux represented Louisiana in the House and Senate from 1973-2005, he remained in the Washington area since leaving Congress. He currently lives in Maryland, and serves as senior counsel for the prestigious law firm and lobbying shop Patton Boggs. [Link]
p>Breaux is the former (popular) Democrat senator from Louisiana (although he often voted like a Republican). With him entering the race, Jindal’s lock on the governor’s mansion is shattered.
Breaux issued a statement following Blanco’s speech: “I join other Louisianians in thanking Governor Blanco for her many years of public service to the people of our state, the last couple under extremely difficult circumstances. I wish her the very best over the rest of her term, and in the future as she enjoys spending time with her family and pursuing other opportunities.”
Blanco was widely criticized for her response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and her popularity had not recovered since the storm. GOP Rep. Bobby Jindal, who narrowly lost to Blanco in 2003, has already begun his campaign
A January Southern Media and Opinion Research poll showed him leading Blanco by 24 points, 59-34 percent. [Link]
Let me re-phrase Breaux’s statement: “Blanco sucks and is resigning because she wouldn’t even be able to beat a corpse in 2008.” Now it is either “Breaux” or “Jindal.” It is the favorite son vs. the guy who has been laying a lot of groundwork for the last few years. The Swing State Project opines on what Jindal’s new strategy might be:
With Blanco out and John Breaux presumably announcing his candidacy within the next few days, at the very least, Louisiana Democrats are buying an extra inning to hold on to the state. At best, Breaux’s entry will be exactly what’s needed to throw a monkey wrench in hard-right Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal’s longtime gubernatorial ambitions. Expect a lot of mud to be hurled at Breaux about how he’s “gone Washington” and lived out of state for a couple of years. It won’t be easy, but I think we can all agree that Breaux’s chances, even with one hand tied behind his back due to his residency issues, are a heck of a lot better than those of a damaged Kathleen Blanco. [Link]