It appears our former Insurance Commissioner might be a little out-of-touch, but in a column late last week he wrote that the Governor will be getting into next year’s Senate race against Mary Landrieu…
So can Governor Bobby Jindal still be a part of the senate campaign scenario? Some observers think the Jindal team has become frustrated over Jindal’s lack of traction on the national stage. Simply put, he has lost his home field advantage. While the Governor crisscrosses the nation in pursuit of respect on the national stage, problems continue to mount at home. His popularity in Louisiana has plummeted into the mid-thirties, lower than any Bayou State governor in memory. The courts have been particularly unkind, declaring many of the Governor’s pet education and finance reforms unconstitutional, and he has been raked over the coals in the business community for a back door effort to significantly raise the state sales tax that presently is ranked as one of the highest in the country.
Recently, Jindal is staying closer to home in an effort to stem a legislative revolt. In the meantime, he has neglected opportunities to gain favor with big Republican dollar givers throughout the country. Just last week, at the last minute, he cancelled a speech to the Manhattan Institute, a group of major national campaign contributors who play a major role in early campaign giving. Reports from the meeting were that donors were livid over Jindal being a no show. He offered to send his education secretary John White, and that caused even more consternation.
So what’s a pouting Governor to do? Consider the options. Since he is term limited in the next governor’s race, and losing steam on the national scene, Landrieu and the Senate race just might be ripe for the picking. Jindal’s political alter ego, a fellow named Timmy Teeple, abruptly departed the Cassidy for Senate team recently, and is looking for a place to land. Trying to elect his old boss may be an attractive alternative.
Surprisingly, Landrieu would much prefer a Jindal race rather than being hounded by Cassidy. All of Jindal’s warts have been in public view for a good while, and Landrieu feels she has plenty of ammo to paint Jindal as another failed incumbent. So instead of running from Cassidy, she can run a campaign directly against Jindal. In other words, hold your nose and vote for the lesser of the two evils. And the question remains as to whether Cassidy will step aside or stand toe to toe and challenge Jindal for the run -off spot.
Stay tuned! Far from being a two party, two horse race, this campaign has a long way to go to the finish line. And because of the national implications, it will be closely observed all across the country.
Landrieu might well prefer the idea of running against Jindal to running against Cassidy, but there is no evidence at all to suggest the governor wants into that race. He’s raised no money for it to date, there is no buzz behind Jindal making that race, Cassidy is lining up most of the key Republican donors statewide and a lot of the national organizations are beginning to pull in behind Cassidy.
There is another candidate in the race, a former Air Force colonel named Rob Maness who is attempting to position himself as the Tea Party alternative to Cassidy but has little or no name recognition or money to do much damage.
But Jindal? Right now the absolute worst thing he could do is to get into a Senate race when he has a public perception problem that he’d rather engage in national politics and run for something else than be governor of Louisiana. What Jindal needs is to get through this legislative session, continue scoring some economic-development wins, repair some bridges to the Republicans in the legislature and ride a good state economy to the finish line of his second term (hopefully with some better budget numbers and the demise of Obamacare in some form). His current low approval numbers will likely rise if the state’s jobs numbers continue to improve even if he doesn’t do anything the rest of the way; running for the Senate probably exacerbates some of his problems.
Brown has to understand this, so one wonders if he’s attempting to make mischief on Landrieu’s behalf by circulating such an implausible scenario.