Is change coming to Louisiana? Will the tradition of graft and corruption in its political process begin to end with the election of Bobby Jindal as governor?
In a very convincing manner, Jinal has won the governorship. The people of Louisiana have elected a non-white Republican.
Jindal, the Republican 36-year-old son of Indian immigrants, carried more than half the vote against 11 opponents. With about 92 percent of the vote in, Jindal had 53 percent with 625,036 votes â€” more than enough to win outright and avoid a Nov. 17 runoff.
“Let’s give our homeland, the great state of Louisiana, a fresh start,” Jindal said to cheers and applause from a crowd that began chanting his name at his victory party.
His nearest competitors: Democrat Walter Boasso with 208,690 votes or 18 percent; Independent John Georges had 1167,477 votes or 14 percent; Democrat Foster Campbell had 151,101 or 13 percent. Eight candidates divided the rest.
“I’m asking all of our supporters to get behind our new governor,” Georges said in a concession speech.
The Oxford-educated Jindal had lost the governor’s race four years ago to Gov. Kathleen Blanco. He won a congressional seat in conservative suburban New Orleans a year later but was widely believed to have his eye on the governor’s mansion.
Blanco opted not to run for re-election after she was widely blamed for the state’s slow response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
When he takes office in January, Jindal will become the nation’s youngest governor in office. He pledged to fight corruption and rid the state of those “feeding at the public trough,” revisiting a campaign theme.
“They can either go quietly or they can go loudly, but either way, they will go,” he said, adding that he would call the Legislature into special session to address ethics reform.
Now if the national party will only put Maryland’s Michael Steele in as its chairman.