Bobby Jindal withdraws from GOP presidential race

AP and WiG reports

Telling Fox News Channel, “I’ve come to the realization that this is not my time,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal dropped out of the 2016 race for the GOP presidential nomination today.

He’s the third Republican to drop out of the crowded field, following the exits of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. All three subscribe to the ideology of the Republican Party’s tea party wing.

Jindal’s stint as Louisiana governor ends in January due to term limits. He said that he plans to devote more of his time to America Next, a think tank he started a few years ago.

Jindal, the nation’s first elected Indian-American governor, was once seen as a rising Republican star. But the public never embraced his presidential candidacy. His polling, which Real Clear Politics put at 3 percent today, never broke out of the low single digits.

Jindal was relegated to the so-called “kiddies’ table” for the four GOP debates that have been held so far, which limited his fundraising ability. He  ended the last fundraising period with only $261,000 cash on hand.

Jindal, 44, seems to have peaked politically when he was chosen to deliver the Republicans’ rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address in 2009. But his corny, stagey performance in that role cost him momentum. Widely ridiculed by Republicans and Democrats alike, Jindal’s rebuttal seems to have overshadowed him ever since (click here to watch).

MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow had this to say in reaction to the 2009 speech: “I know that I am paid to talk for a living, I am incapable of doing what I am paid to do right now. I am absolutely stunned.”

Jindal needed a solid record of accomplishments or a great debate performance to get a new look from voters. Instead, his low approval ratings as governor and a growing chorus of criticism about his style of governing dragged him down even lower. Louisiana currently faces a $490 million budget deficit.

Numerous pundits questioned why Jindal was running for president.

But he did have fans in Iowa. Tamara Scott, a national GOP committeewoman from the state, told The Associated Press that his appearances there generated strong responses.

Conservative Iowa blogger Shane Vander Hart, who recently endorsed Jindal, also praised his skills on the stump. “If you’ve done any of his events, retail politicking is one of his strengths. People as they got to know him liked him,” Vander Hart said.

In announcing his withdrawal from the race, Jindal said he wasn’t ready to endorse another candidate.

“Going forward, I believe we have to be the party of growth and we can never stop being the party that believes in opportunity. We cannot settle for the left’s view of envy and division,” Jindal said in a statement.