BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal said Wednesday that Republicans “better not waste that chance” to show the nation they can govern now that they’ve solidified their control over both chambers of Congress.
Jindal said while Election Day was a great GOP victory, voters across the country want more than incremental change from the party as it takes the leadership reins in the U.S. Senate and a stronger hold of the U.S. House.
“The American people have entrusted us with the opportunity and the ability now to make policy. We have had the majority before, and Republicans have not always used that majority and opportunity before when we were given the chance,” he said.
The Republican governor, considering a run for president in 2016, repeated his refrain that the GOP must offer more than simply rejecting the policies of President Barack Obama and being the “party of no.” He said Republicans should work to repeal the federal health care overhaul, strengthen the military and improve education.
“It is very important that Republicans now do something with this opportunity to govern,” Jindal said.
After a fall campaign season traveling the nation to support GOP candidates in other states, Jindal turned his attention Wednesday to Louisiana. He endorsed Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy in the Senate runoff against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.
Jindal had declined to endorse before Tuesday’s election because multiple Republican candidates were on the ballot. As he announced his backing for Cassidy, the governor shifted from the GOP narrative that the Senate race was a referendum on Obama and Landrieu’s support for his policies.
“This election is about whether Mary Landrieu continues to represent Louisiana’s values, and I would argue that she does not, that it is time to retire Mary Landrieu,” Jindal said.
He also backed Republican candidates in Louisiana’s U.S. House runoffs: Ralph Abraham for the northeast Louisiana-based 5th District seat and his former coastal chief Garret Graves for the Baton Rouge-based 6th District seat.
It wasn’t clear if Jindal would do much direct campaigning for the congressional candidates, saying he would assist “in any way they deem helpful.” The governor’s approval ratings in Louisiana are in the low 40s, and GOP candidates haven’t necessarily embraced Jindal on the campaign trail.
As for Jindal’s possible next campaign, the governor said he and his family would decide about a White House bid early next year. “We’re going to think and pray about it over the holidays,” he said.
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