Is Bobby Jindal running against Sen. Mary Landrieu? That rumor has made the rounds in Louisiana political circles in recent months, and it's getting new buzz from Bayou State political columnist John Maginnis today.
Jindal's office said back in November that he would not be a Senate candidate in 2014. But as some conservative groups begin to indicate discomfort with the current Republican frontrunner, Rep. Bill Cassidy, and the perception that Jindal isn't making the kind of impression he needs to make on the national stage has Maginnis and others questioning whether Jindal will change his mind.
Jindal's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but his longtime political advisor Curt Anderson had a succinct response: "Column wrong. No interest. At all."
Jindal's approval rating in his home state has plummeted since he was elected to a second term in 2011. Just 38 percent of voters said they approved of his job performance in March, according to a Southern Media and Opinion Research survey, the lowest numbers he's ever registered. That poll, conducted for conservative businessman Lane Grigsby, showed that even President Obama has a higher approval rating in the state than Jindal does. Jindal hopes to boost his numbers with a statewide tour that will take him through all 64 Louisiana parishes. Maginnis thinks the tour, and the fact that Jindal hasn't endorsed Cassidy, are signs that the governor has his eye on Landrieu.
Jindal doesn't leave office until 2015, and he's got legislative priorities still on his to-do list.
And he's still getting some presidential buzz, despite the fact that he's polling at just 3 percent in a hypothetical Republican primary in Qunnipiac's April survey of Republican voters. A plurality of voters in a March CNN/ORC International poll said they didn't know enough about him to have an opinion. But Jindal still has his eyes on a national prize; there's not much other reason to pen a big op-ed for Politico.
Although some conservative groups are voicing concerns about Cassidy, many state and national Republicans have already lined up behind him, including the Koch brothers, the entire congressional delegation and Sen. David Vitter (R), with whom Jindal already has something of a chilly relationship.