On Saturday, Louisiana’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal found himself locked in an open-primary battle royale against 9 Democrat challengers. In Louisiana, every candidate piles into the open primary melee, and if someone wins a decisive victory with more than 50% of the vote, the general election becomes unnecessary.
That’s how things worked out for Jindal, as he defeated his nine challengers in the biggest gubernatorial landslide since Louisiana started holding these open primaries in 1975. Jindal won with 65.8% of the vote, as Bloomberg News reports, leaving his nearest challenger, schoolteacher and first-time candidate Tara Hollis, with only 17.9%. The other eight candidates had to fight for electoral table scraps.
Jindal’s winning vote total matches up nicely with his excellent 63% approval rating, and the Democrats weren’t pouring a lot of national support behind the effort to unseat him, so his victory isn’t a shock. It’s still very impressive, considering that Democrats still outnumber Republicans in Louisiana by 44% to 41%. Some politicians have trouble winning 66% of the vote from their own families.
The old Democrat machine has been virtually erased from Louisiana, with top statewide offices and the state legislature in Republican hands, headed up by a tax-cutting, small-government, socially and fiscally conservative governor. If a comparably liberal Democrat had just won atomic-bomb re-election in a formerly red state while an unpopular Republican President dodged daily scandals on his way to an uncertain future, it would be a huge story from coast to coast… especially when you consider that we’re talking about a Gulf state, and Jindal’s policies are holding Louisiana a good 2% below the national unemployment rate, despite Obama’s summary execution of the Gulf oil industry.
Jindal gets a lot of attention as a possible vice-presidential candidate, and has endorsed Rick Perry for President, but it doesn’t look like the people of Louisiana would be willing to give him up without a fight.