(Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo)
Bobby Jindal, the young and energetic governor of Louisiana, is lending his support to current GOP frontrunner and Texas Governor Rick Perry, CNN first reported. The announcement comes on the heels of former Minnesota governor and former GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty’s endorsement of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney earlier Monday.
Jindal, who is on his way to Florida, will be Perry’s guest at tonight’s Tea Party Republican Debate and is expected to boost Perry’s credentials, not only among Tea Party activist, but among other subgroups within the GOP as well. Jindal is reportedly going to make a formal announcement of his endorsement before tonight’s debate.
The young Louisiana governor was first elected to Congress in 2004 and re-elected in 2006, before being elected as the nation’s youngest governor at 36 years old in 2007. Jindal, who is also the first Indian-American governor of Louisiana, will most likely play a key role in the Perry campaign.
Exactly how can Jindal help Perry?
A native of Baton Rouge, Jindal was ranked in 2008 as one of the most popular governors in the nation, with an approval rating of 77 percent. His popularity and conservative credentials, combined with his youthful and engaging personality, will play well with Republicans nationwide.
The young governor was raised in a Hindu household, but later converted to Christianity while in high school and is a Catholic. This should play well in appealing to the Catholic wing of the GOP, especially if Perry gets the Republican nomination. In addition, Jindal’s political resume is impressive and long, giving him a command of issues that will be important as a possible surrogate speaker on the presidential campaign trail.
Many political analysts are also thinking Jindal may be prime material to be a vice presidential running mate.
Kyle Kondik, a political analyst with the University of Virginia, said Jindal’s endorsement was not all that surprising.
“Jindal seems to appeal to the conservative and the mainstream wing of the Republican base,” said Kondik. “Plus, I think he appeals to GOP business leaders. Both he and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are most likely on the short list of potential running mates if anyone in the campaign would admit to it.”
Kondik also noted that Republicans loyal to the Bush camp might also be attracted to Jindal since he served in the former president’s administration as assistant secretary of health and human services for planning and evaluation prior to running for Congress.
The Tea Party Republican Debate, co-hosted by CNN, will be broadcasted at 8 p.m. ET Monday night, and will pit Romney against Perry for the second time in two weeks.
Others appearing in tonight’s debate are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Atlanta businessman Herman Cain, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.