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This page contains a single entry by Westley Annis published on April 23, 2007 8:50 PM.

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Jindal Loses Again

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It is six months away from the 2007 primary election for governor. The Louisiana State Republican Party Executive Committee has endorsed Congressman Bobby Jindal without holding a vote among the party's members.

Still riding the wave of the anti-Blanco sentiment following Hurricane's Katrina and Rita, Jindal has raised just over $5 million in five months and is seen as a shoo-in to win the election.

Unfortunately for Jindal, he may be peaking too soon and against a non-candidate.

Against current Governor Kathleen Blanco, Jindal was unbeatable with over 70% favorable poll numbers. But Blanco is no longer in the race.

The Democrats haven’t found their consensus runner yet, although they have ruled out a number of possible candidates including former U.S. Senator John Breaux, current Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, Congressman Charlie Melancon, and Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who is one of only two declared Democratic candidates.

All of this makes it appear as though Jindal has the election locked up and he can start planning for his inauguration party in January 2008.

What Jindal and Roger Villere, the Chairman of the State Party, have failed to recognize is that there are two other Republican candidates, both of whom can use their own checking accounts to match Jindal’s fundraising dollar for dollar.

John Georges and State Senator Walter Boasso are both self-made millionaires and both of them disagree with the state GOP as to who should be the next governor of Louisiana. After the endorsement by the State GOP Executive Committee, Boasso sent out a press release lambasting the endorsement.

That was a month ago. The Democrats are still looking for a flag boy while the GOP has settled on theirs.

Just before the weekend, reports came out that Boasso was looking at the idea of changing parties. As a former Democrat, it could be said he was returning to the nest. Monday afternoon had reports that it was almost a done deal for Boasso to switch.

What would cause the sudden change in parties for Boasso?

The primary reason has to be the actions by the state GOP. With the party leadership jumping on the Jindal bandwagon so early in the game and not looking at any other candidate, they have forced Boasso to look elsewhere for support.

Boasso has never been a strict party man. While in the state senate, he has voted on issues the way he thinks it would improve the state and not because of political deal making. As a Democrat candidate, Boasso would shape the Democrat party platform more than the party would shape his.

And with the Democrat party behind him, Boasso would pick up a large number of votes. Votes he couldn’t get running as a Republican. Couple that with votes from people who are the fence with Jindal, the “he’s a good guy and I don’t want to lose him” crowd. Once they realize that Jindal will still be serving Louisiana as a Congressman, they will be able to cast their vote for Boasso with a clear conscience.

Does a party switch make Boasso a shoo-in? Far from it.

He still has a tough road to defeat Jindal, although it will be easier. Jindal and the GOP camp will not be able to attack Boasso for being a liberal Democrat since he was a Republican for three-quarters of his political career. And he will be able to easily say it was the GOP party that forced his conversion and his necessity of relying on old style politics.

Whether he switches or not, the most important thing for Boasso to remember is his base of voters and supporters in St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, and Orleans Parishes that elected him four years ago. They may not be large in number, but if they feel forgotten and vote for Jindal, the Boasso ship will sink in October.


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