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Steve Scalise endorses David Vitter in governor’s race

Add U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana to the long list of politicians lining up to voice their support for U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s run for governor.

Vitter’s campaign announced Scalise’s backing, along with former U.S. Rep. Bob Livingston’s, on Monday. steve scalise david vitter

Vitter faces Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the Oct. 24 statewide election.

Others who previously have voiced support for Vitter’s campaign include state Treasurer John Kennedy, U.S. Reps. Charles BoustanyRalph Abraham and John Fleming of Louisiana, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and some national political figures, including New Jersey Gov.  Chris Christie and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The Rundown: May 18, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Welcome to The Rundown, your guide to what’s happening in the Louisiana Legislature and go-to source for news about Louisiana politics and Gov. Bobby Jindal, brought to you by The Advocate.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Countdown…
Days until session ends: 24
Days until the 2015 primary election day: 161
Days until the runoff (as needed): 190

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal?  The governor did not have any reported events outside of Louisiana scheculed today. Over the weekend he travelled to Iowa.

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Steve Scalise, R-La., adds Lighthouse for the Blind provision to U.S. House bill on defense spending, while David Vitter, R-La., amends Senate version to help businesses in disaster areas

Washington — A measure to boost business for a nonprofit providing jobs for the blind in Louisiana and another to expand business development zones were added Thursday by Louisiana members of Congress to bills authorizing defense spending.

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The Rundown: May 15, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Welcome to The Rundown, your guide to what’s happening in the Louisiana Legislature and go-to source for news about Louisiana politics and Gov. Bobby Jindal, brought to you by The Advocate.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Countdown…
Days until session ends: 27
Days until the 2015 primary election day: 164
Days until the runoff (as needed): 193

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal?  The governor is in Washington, DC today to speak to the Council for National Policy Forum. This weekend he’ll head to Iowa for the Story County GOP Breakfast, National Security Action Summit and the Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner.

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The Rundown: May 14, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Welcome to The Rundown, your guide to what’s happening in the Louisiana Legislature and go-to source for news about Louisiana politics and Gov. Bobby Jindal, brought to you by The Advocate.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Countdown…
Days until session ends: 28
Days until the 2015 primary election day: 165
Days until the runoff (as needed): 194

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal? The governor did not have reported appearances scheduled outside of the state today. This weekend, he’ll travel to Iowa for the GOP Lincoln Dinner there.

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PAC takes aim at David Vitter in Louisiana gubernatorial race

A new political action committee called Gumbo PAC has launched with the expressed purpose of targeting U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s bid to become the next governor of Louisiana.

gumbo pac david vitter

Image from Gumbo PAC website gumbopac.com

Gumbo PAC launched a website and YouTube video today that takes aim at Vitter’s time in elected office. He was first elected to Congress in 1999 and has served in the Senate since 2005.

“It’s a story of a man who went to Washington promising to change it but instead became it,” the Gumbo PAC video narrator begins.

Nearly half of the video focuses on footage of TV reports on Vitter’s ties to the infamous DC madam and claims made by a former New Orleans prostitute. Nearly eight years ago, Vitter admitted to a “serious sin” after his phone number appeared among the records of the madam’s high-priced prostitution service. The New Orleans prostitute, in interviews, alleged she had frequent trysts with Vitter. The Gumbo PAC video calls Vitter “an embarrassment to the people of Louisiana.”

“Just imagine the things you haven’t heard about … yet,” it concludes.

Vitter campaign spokesman Luke Bolar dismissed the Gumbo PAC campaign as a negative retaliation for Vitter’s efforts in DC.

“Sadly, this is more politics as usual from liberal Obama Democrats and their allies. When you fight to really reform things –like taking away politicians’ automatic pay raises and special Obamacare exemptions — this crowd is gonna come after you,” Bolar said. “But David Vitter is undeterred. He’ll continue to lead, to lay out his plan to build a brighter future for all Louisianians.”

Baton Rouge-based political consultant Trey Ourso confirmed to The Advocate on Tuesday that he is the chairman of Gumbo PAC. Ourso is a former executive director of the state Democratic Party. His firm worked on Charlie Melancon’s 2010 race for Senate against Vitter.

But Ourso said Gumbo PAC is a non-partisan effort to bring voters information on Vitter’s background.

“He’s been in office along time so he’s built quite a record for himself,” Ourso said. “A lot of people are concerned about the potential of him being governor, but he really hasn’t been put in a position to account for his record.”

Vitter faces Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the Oct. 24 election. A runoff will be held Nov. 21 if no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote.

Recent polls have showed Vitter in the lead, but not with enough support to avoid a runoff.

Ourso noted Vitter’s front-runner status, leading the pack in fundraising and name recognition so far.

“I really want people to understand that it’s not partisan and not affiliated with any of the candidates,” Ourso said. “The message is going to be based in fact and on Sen. Vitter’s record.”

Ourso declined to comment on the PAC’s strategy moving forward, but said that it plans to use several platforms to bring its message to voters.

“Today’s just day one,” he said.

Website: Bobby Jindal’s opposition to ‘hyphenated’ modifiers ignores past embrace of Indian-American label

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn’t made secret his distaste for the use of modifiers that he says turn people into “hyphenated Americans,” such as Indian-American, Asian-American, African-American.

“I do not believe in hyphenated Americans,” Jindal, the nation’s first elected governor of Indian heritage, said matter-of-factly during a speech earlier this year.

Bobby Jindal Indian American

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

But The Intercept, an online investigative publication, has traced what it claims is evidence that perhaps that hasn’t always been true for Jindal.

“[N]ot long ago, Jindal embraced his hyphenated identity, using it to boost his quick ascent up the political ladder,” The Intercept article states.

According to The Intercept, Jindal, while starting out as a young politician, celebrated the “Indian-American community” and courted its support, frequently using the “hyphenated” phrase.

Jindal, who is considering a run for president in 2016, has frequently repeated in recent months his stance against the use of “hyphenated American” descriptors, stressing that his family immigrated from India before he was born so that he and his brother could be, “simply, Americans.”

Jindal, in various speeches, has stressed the need for Americans to embrace an American identity — as he describes it, being a true “melting pot” and not a “salad bowl” — and not rely on ethnic or racial modifiers.

That has already raised some eyebrows in publications that cater to Indian-American readers. The Times of India accused Jindal of trying to “disown” his Indian-American status.

Read the full article from The Intercept and watch the related videos here.

The Rundown: May 13, 2015

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Welcome to The Rundown, your guide to what’s happening in the Louisiana Legislature and go-to source for news about Louisiana politics and Gov. Bobby Jindal, brought to you by The Advocate.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Countdown…
Days until session ends: 29
Days until the 2015 primary election day: 166
Days until the runoff (as needed): 195

Where in the world is Gov. Bobby Jindal? The governor did not have reported appearances scheduled outside of the state today. This weekend, he’ll travel to Iowa for the GOP Lincoln Dinner there.

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Poll: Bobby Jindal’s job performance at an ‘all-time low’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has been making a steady stream of appearances outside Louisiana as he tests the waters for a presidential run, but a new poll shows the governor’s approval rating back home at what’s described as an “all-time low.”

The poll, released Tuesday by the Baton Rouge-based Southern Media and Opinion Research,  found 31.8 percent of respondents viewed Jindal’s job performance favorably, while Jindal’s negative job rating hit 64.7 percent.

bobby jindal poll

Gov. Bobby Jindal (Advocate photo)

The same firm found Jindal’s approval at 40.9 percent positive in December, with 57.6 viewing him favorably.

The state-wide poll was conducted May 5-9 with 600 likely voters across Louisiana. It has a margin of error of +/-4 percent.

The poll found President Barack Obama is similarly unfavorable in Louisiana — but not as bad as Jindal. About 42.1 percent of respondents gave Obama a favorable job rating, and 57.3 percent negative.

On the state budget crisis, only 17.4 percent of respondents said they prefer state employee layoffs and other cuts in funding, as compared to 67.4 percent who prefer that the state seek out ways to raise revenue.

Other highlights from the poll:

  • Religious freedom: The poll found a slight majority of Louisiana residents (50.9 percent) oppose legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service for same-sex couples.
  • Same-sex marriage: A majority of respondents oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage in Louisiana, while 34.1 percent said they support. Another 13.5 percent was unsure. Republicans were more likely to oppose (71.6 percent), while voters under 35 years old were the only demographic group that had a majority support for same-sex marriage (51.8 percent).
  • Common Core: The majority of Louisiana voters (53.6 percent) oppose the use of Common Core education standards here.

Read the poll’s complete findings broken down here (PDF).

Analysis: For Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, ‘It’s all about Iowa’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has spent time in Iowa already this year, and he’s scheduled to head back this weekend for the state Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner.

As he considers a run for president, the first caucus state could be key to whether he becomes a viable candidate, political analyst Stuart Rothenberg notes in a new column.

Bobby Jindal iowa

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Freedom Summit, Saturday, May 9, 2015, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

“Jindal must do well — very well — in the caucuses if he is going to have a lengthy run in the Republican race,” Rothenberg writes. “If he finishes back in the pack, it will mean other conservatives have bested him, depriving him of the momentum (and additional resources) he needs to develop into a top-tier contender.

“On the other hand, if he generates excitement once he hits the stump in Iowa and finishes in the top two or three in the caucuses, the Brown grad and Rhodes Scholar could become somebody to reckon with.”

“For Jindal, it’s all about Iowa,” Rothenberg concludes in the column posted to RollCall.com Tuesday.

Jindal traveled to Greenville, S.C., over the weekend to address the South Carolina Freedom Summit, a cattle call of sorts for conservatives eyeing a run for president in 2016.

Reports from that event focused on his criticisms of President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for 2016. You can watch the video of his speech via C-SPAN.

(Jindal actually offered a rare bit of praise for Clinton when speaking to reporters afterward. More on that here via The New York Times.)

Jindal also won praise from Louisiana-native Erick Erickson, who noted in a recent column that the Louisiana governor “has been the loudest and most consistent voice of the 2016 candidates on the issue of religious liberty.”