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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ends campaign for GOP presidential nomination

Jindal’s decision comes after he was unable to gain traction in the polls or a place in the top-tier debates

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

louisiana mugWASHINGTON (CFP) — Saying it was “not my time,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has ended his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

“We spend a lot of time developing detailed policy papers, and given this crazy, unpredictable election season, clearly there just wasn’t a lot of interest in those policy papers,” Jindal said in a November 17 appearance on Fox News, where he announced he was suspending his campaign.

“Certainly, we thought it would end differently, but the reality is, this is not my time.”

Jindal, 44, whose term as Louisiana’s chief executive ends in January, said he will return to the think tank he founded, America Next, after he leaves office.

When he was elected in 2007, Jindal, a former congressman and official in the George W. Bush administration, was one of America’s youngest governors and was considered to be a rising star in the GOP.

But amid a budget crisis in Baton Rouge, Jindal saw his approval ratings back home plunge, and he was unable to get out of the low single digits in polling of the crowded Republican presidential field.

Jindal had been relegated to the second tier in the first three GOP debates.

Jindal becomes the second Southern Republican to exit the race, joining former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who left in September.

The remaining candidates are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jim Gilmore of Virginia.

On The Trail: Candidates troop to Concord to file for New Hampshire primary

Southerners Graham, Rubio and Cruz among the candidates filing for February 9 ballot

♦By Patrick Scanlan, Chickenfriedpolitics.com contributor

on-the-trail-new-hampshireCONCORD, New Hampshire (CFP) — Presidential candidates have been spending important time in New Hampshire over the past two weeks, passing through the Secretary of State’s office to file for candidacy and secure a spot on the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary ballot. The filing period attracts unknown underdogs and current poll leaders alike, who will all share equal space on the New Hampshire ballot.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in New Hampshire

The majority of candidates filing, including U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, expressed support for keeping the New Hampshire primary first in the national nominating calendar, allowing any U.S. citizen the ability to run for president and set the tone for the rest of the election.

Graham called the retail politics of the Granite State “an antidote to big money.”

“This is the last place where you can break through without being rich,” Graham said. He said that increasingly, the modern political process, with an emphasis on national polls and use of social media, is changing the way candidates run for president.

“The way you become heard now is not going to house parties and town halls, it’s whatever you need to say or do to get your national polling up,” he said.

Cruz said that “if our first elections were decided by large states, they would all be decided by slick Hollywood TV ads” and the winners “would just be whoever spends the most money.”

Cruz also took time to talk about larger issues. He stressed the importance of uniting conservatives with “common sense conservative values” and cited his previous record of standing up to Washington and big government, especially dealing with complex current issues such as immigration.

“If the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton are both advocates of amnesty, millions of working men and women will say, ‘To heck with all of you, you’re a bunch of corrupt Washington cronies, and I ain’t showing up,” Cruz said.

During his tour through the State House in Concord, Rubio defended himself over recent headlines related to the controversy of his use of a Florida GOP credit card for personal expenses, which he said was being drummed up by his political opponents.

“Those aren’t public documents, guys. Those are documents that were leaked by the chairman of the Republican Party, who was supporting my opponents,” Rubio said.

“The main issue in this election is moving forward and understanding the challenges before American and the challenges before our people,” he said.

The New Hampshire primary is February 9.

On The Trail: U.S. Senator Rand Paul barnstorms key early presidential caucus state of Nevada

Kentucky senator makes pitch to Latino libertarian group in Las Vegas

♦By Andy Donahue, Chickenfriedpolitics.com contributor

on-the-trail-nevadaLAS VEGAS (CFP) – Just hours after CNN’s Republican presidential debate, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky barnstormed Nevada, taking his presidential campaign on a four-city sweep of the key early caucus state.

Paul began his Nevada tour in Carson City before attending events in Reno and Ely and wrapping up with an appearance at a Latino public policy forum at the College of Southern Nevada near Las Vegas on September 17.

Rand Paul addresses Latino group in Las Vegas.

Rand Paul addresses Latino group in Las Vegas.

The event was hosted by the LIBRE Initiative, a non-partisan group that advocates limited government and free enterprise, providing a congenial and receptive audience for Paul, who hails from the libertarian wing of the GOP

Paul made frequent, poignant allusions to Spanish literature throughout his address while telling his own narrative of learning small amounts of Spanish from immigrant children his own age while growing up in Texas. He said the vast wealth and income discrepancies between him and these children were instrumental in his dedication to immigration and border security solutions.

To address these inequalities, Paul is campaigning on an immigration plan built on the economics of supply and demand, advocating for job specific visas that are “proportional” to the number of openings for each job.

Paul saluted the Latino community’s shared commitment to hard work, telling the audience that he “never sees a Hispanic pan-handler.”

Paul also quoted Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a source of “advice Republicans might consider,” reciting a line from “Love in the Time of Cholera” to call on his country and his party to seek renewal:

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them … Life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Nevada will hold its presidential caucuses on February 23, 2016, with 30 delegates at stake. It is the fourth event in the 2016 primary calendar–after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina–and the first test of strength in the West.

Paul is one of eight Southern candidates in the GOP race. The others are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jim Gilmore of Virginia; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

The lone Southern seeking the Democratic nomination is former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

Rick Perry bows out of 2016 White House race with veiled shot at Trump

Former Texas governor says “no room” for “nativist appeals” in GOP race

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

texas mugST. LOUIS (CFP) — Four months before the first vote is cast, former Texas Governor Rick Perry has suspended his campaign for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination — but not before taking a veiled blast at front-runner Donald Trump over his negative comments about Latino immigrants.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry

“We cannot indulge nativist appeals that divide the nation further,” Perry said, without mentioning Trump by name. “There is no room for debate that denigrates certain people based on their heritage or their origin.”

“We can secure the border of this country and reform our immigration system without inflammatory rhetoric … Demeaning people of Hispanic heritage is not just ignorant, it betrays the example of Christ.”

Perry, who has languished near the bottom of the polls in the crowded GOP field, announced the end of his campaign September 11 in an appearance before the Eagle Forum, a conservative women’s group. The decision to drop out came after news reports that his campaign no longer had enough money to pay staff.

Saying “some things have become clear to me,” Perry went on to laud what he termed “a tremendous field of candidates.”

“I step aside knowing our party’s in good hands as long as we listen to the grassroots, listen to the cause of conservatism,” he said.

Perry, 65, a former Air Force officer who was a cotton farmer in West Texas before getting into politics, left office in January after serving 14 years as governor, the longest tenure in the state’s history.

This was his second try for the White House. He ran in 2012, entering the campaign as one of the favorites only to see his stock plummet after a series of of gaffes, including a moment in a debate when he could not remember the name of a federal agency he had previously pledged to abolish. He later blamed his faltering performance on lack of preparation and the aftereffects of back surgery.

Perry had hoped for political redemption in the 2016 race, but his candidacy never caught fire in the polls. He was one of the most outspoken critics of Trump, particularly over his assertions that many illegal migrants from Mexico were  criminals.

Perry was one of nine Southern Republicans seeking the nomination. The other candidates are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Jim Gilmore of Virginia; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

The lone Southern seeking the Democratic nomination is former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia.

Watch video of Perry’s withdrawal announcement:

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb enters 2016 Democratic race with shot at Hillary Clinton

Webb, who left the Senate in 2012, says Americans “need to shake the hold” of political elites

♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com editor

virginia mugRICHMOND (CFP) — Saying the United States “needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us,” former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has announced that he will seek the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb

Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb

“I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” Webb said in a message announcing his candidacy posted on his campaign website July 2. “Our fellow Americans need proven, experience leadership that can be trusted to move us forward.”

In his opening campaign salvo, Webb positioned himself as an outsider in the race, noting that “more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars.”

“Highly paid political consultants are working to shape the ‘messaging’ of every major candidate,” he said. “We need to shake the hold of these shadow elites on our political process.”

Webb also took a direct swipe at the Democratic frontrunner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her initial support of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Webb publicly opposed.

“Let me assure you, as president, I would not have urged an invasion of Iraq,” Webb said. “I warned in writing five months before that invasion that we do not belong as an occupying power in that part of the world and that this invasion would be a strategic blunder of historic proportions.”

When she ran for president in 2008, Clinton defended her vote authorizing the use of military force in Iraq — a vote which was used against her with great effect by Barack Obama. But in a 2014 book, she conceded that her vote was a mistake.

Webb also said he would have opposed military intervention in Libya in 2011 — which Obama authorized and Clinton supported as secretary of state — and that the subsequent terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi on her watch “was inevitable.”

Webb, 69, is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who served in Vietnam and was the secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. In 2006, he won a surprise victory to the Senate, narrowly ousting incumbent Republican George Allen in an election in which anti-war sentiment lifted Democratic fortunes.

In the Senate, Webb was considered a centrist who frequently bucked the party line, including an assertion that Obamacare would be a “disaster” for the Democratic Party. In 2012, facing the prospect of a contentious rematch with Allen, he decided not to run for re-election and left the Senate after a single term.

More recently, Webb sounded a cautionary note on the renewed drive to remove the Confederate battle emblem in the wake of the Charleston church shootings, saying in a Facebook post that “we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War.”

“The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.”

Recent national polls have shown Webb’s support for the Democratic nomination in single digits, well behind Clinton and second-place U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

In the message launching his campaign, Webb touted his sponsorship in the Senate of a GI Bill providing benefits to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan and his support for reform of the criminal justice system.

“It’s costing us billions of dollars. It’s wasting lives, often beginning at a very early age, creating career criminals rather than curing them. It’s not making our neighborhoods safer,” he said.

Like a number of other presidential contenders in both parties, Webb also sounded a note of economic populism.

“Let’s work to restore true economic fairness in this great country, starting with finding the right formula for growing our national economy while making our tax laws more balanced and increasing the negotiating leverage of our working people,” he said. “Our goal will be to increase the financial stability of the American workforce.”

Webb also said he would “work toward bringing the complex issue of immigration reform to a solution that respects the integrity of our legal traditions, while also recognizing the practical realities of a system that has been paralyzed by partisan debate.”

Webb is the only Southerner among the five candidates seeking the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, although Clinton was a resident of Arkansas before moving to New York to run for the Senate in 2000.

Eight Southerners are seeking the Republican nomination: U.S. Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Rick Perry of Texas; and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

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