Weighing 2016 bid, US Governor Bobby Jindal travels to Iowa
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal returns on Tuesday to Iowa, a small heartland state that plays an outsized role in the presidential nominee process, where he'll meet with pastors and again look for support among Christian evangelicals for a possible White House campaign.
Baton Rouge: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal returns on Tuesday to Iowa, a small heartland state that plays an outsized role in the presidential nominee process, where he'll meet with pastors and again look for support among Christian evangelicals for a possible White House campaign.
Today's trip to Iowa will be his fifth since June. Jindal has also spoken to pastors in New Hampshire, another state that is one of the first to hold presidential nominating contests, at a gathering of faith leaders and conservative activists in Washington.
Jindal, the first Indian-American governor, is Catholic convert raised by Hindu parents. He has fostered relationships with religious conservatives since taking office in 2008.
Jindal opposes abortion and gay marriage, and pushed for the creation of a voucher program in Louisiana that uses tax dollars to pay for children to attend religious schools.
The stated reason for Jindal's Iowa trip is to talk about his headlining appearance later this month at a prayer rally that is expected to draw thousands of people to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and to discuss ways to mount a similar event in Iowa.
"I'm happy to go anywhere, anytime to talk about Jesus," Jindal said in an interview on Monday with The Associated Press.
But the private meetings with Christian religious leaders in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines also come as Jindal courts religious conservatives across the country ahead of the 2016 campaign.
That includes headlining a prayer rally later this month called The Response on the campus of Louisiana State University. Outgoing Texas Governor.
Rick Perry headlined a similar prayer event in 2011 days before launching his White House bid.
Critics have urged the university to scrap the event, arguing the rally is designed to further Jindal's presidential ambitions, an argument he rejects.
"The Response is a prayer event," he said. "It is a spiritual event. It is not a political event."
Jindal's push among religious conservatives comes as he tries to define his political brand and stand out in a crowded field of early potential candidates for the Republican nomination.