Saturday, October 20, 2007

Jindal the new Governor of Louisiana!

In Lousiana's statewide gubernatorial election Saturday, GOP congressman Bobby Jindal soundly surpassed the 50% threshold needed to avoide a runoff, winning the race with 54% of the vote (In Lousiana's unique runoff system, modeled after France, there are no primaries--instead, all candidates run on a single ballot and if no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters face off in a November runoff election). In this case, The GOP managed to keep other Republicans out of the race: Jindal faced off against 5 Democrats and Independent among a group of 12 candidates in all).

Unhappiness with former Governor Blanco (who beat Jindal in 2003, 52 to 48 percent) and her lack of leadership during Hurricane Katrina, contributed to the Democratic rout. However, it is unusual for ANY candidate to surpass the 50 percent threshold--David Vitter, LA's first Republican senator since Reconstruction (electeed in '04) only received 51 percent in his round, so Jindal's 54 percent victory is even more remarkable.

At 36 years old, the young Catholic, Indian-American congressman becomes the youngest governor in the country and the first minority governor in Louisiana, where former Klu Klux Klan member David Duke lost in a runoff election in 1991. This significant victory follows the impressive, above-average showing by Jim Ognowski in his bid for a Republican house seat in Massachusett's congressional district, coming within 6 points of defeating Democrat Nikki Tsongas.

Both off-year races show momentum for Republicans who lead and inspire by running independent campaigns that emphasize core conservative values. Tonight's results, combined with the results from Massachusetts last week, show that American voters have not bought into the Democratic agenda. They wanted change in '04, but they do not want a radical restructuring of our nation and economy--sensible Republicans with core values, independent streaks, and a knack for acknowledging the failures of their own party and president while highlighting the dangers of a Democratic majority AND articulating a comprehensive, detailed, and positive vision for the future will be successful. Democrats get ready---Republicans are ready and willing to compete in all parts of the country.

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