BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday launched a long-shot campaign for the Republican presidential nomination that rests on courtship of evangelical voters and his reputation as a man of ideas.
The 44-year-old, two-term governor announced his candidacy on Twitter, and begins without the national prominence of rivals such as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who are among a dozen contenders for the nomination in a highly competitive pack.
But Jindal, an Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants, points to a long political career filled with many unexpected achievements. He talked a governor into appointing him health secretary at age 24 with little background in either health management or government, won election to Congress at 32 and became governor four years later.
Unpopular at home, the Louisiana governor told reporters recently, “If I were to become a candidate, I would certainly run to win and I would do it based on presenting detailed ideas about how to move our country forward.”
Strategist Curt Anderson says Jindal will promote himself as “the youngest candidate with the longest resume,” highlighting an extensive background in public policy and government.
Raised by Hindu parents but a Catholic convert, Jindal has carefully cultivated social conservatives and evangelical voters. He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows science teachers to use outside curriculum, a move some Nobel laureates protest as a back-door way to teach creationism as science.
He pushed for a voucher program that pays for children to attend private schools with taxpayer dollars, including some religious schools that teach creationism and reject evolution.
Jindal opposes same-sex marriage and supports religious objections laws.
Article continues belowLast month, Jindal issued an executive order protecting state workers who object to same-sex marriage after the state legislature killed a religious objections bill similar to ones enacted, then revised, in Indiana and Arkansas.
The order forbids state agencies from denying individuals, businesses and nonprofits any licenses, benefits, jobs or tax deductions because of action taken due to religious belief that marriage should be between a man and woman. Jindal said the order would extend several months beyond his administration’s end unless Louisiana’s next governor rescinds it.
On abortion, Jindal has repeatedly supported adding restrictions to the procedure in Louisiana, and he backs a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, similar to a law on the books in his home state.
Developing story. This report will be updated.