Allies of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed paperwork on Thursday with the Federal Election Commission to create a new political action committee aimed at bolstering the governor’s potential 2016 campaign.
“We want to be prepared if Gov. Jindal wants to run for president,” said Brad Todd, the lead consultant for the super PAC and a longtime campaign consultant for the governor. “Our job is to raise money and communicate ideas. We’re very confident that it will be well received by donors.”
The creation of the group — called “Believe Again” — signals how serious Jindal is about running in 2016. After flubbing the Republican response to the State of the Union in 2009, the governor worked hard to shore up his credibility within the party and was widely thought to be short-listed as former Gov. Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate in 2012.
The PAC is made up of close Jindal allies: Former Congressman Bob Livingston, who gave Jindal his first job in politics as an intern, will chair the committee; Baton Rouge businessman Rolfe McCollister will be the treasurer.
It’s not the only structure being built in advance of a campaign: In the last year, Jindal launched two political groups — the PAC Stand Up To Washington and the policy group America Next — that would likely make up the foundation of the governor’s campaign should he decide to run. While Jindal continues “thinking and praying” about whether or not to run, however, Believe Again can start building a base and drumming up support in earnest.
They certainly have their work cut out for them: Just 4% of conservatives in a CNN/ORC poll late last year picked Jindal as their 2016 choice, instead leaning towards candidates with heavy name recognition like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
But that doesn’t scare Todd, who recalls Jindal’s first bid for governor.
“He was an astrix in the polls when he started, but he made the run-off and lost 51-49,” he told msnbc of Jindal’s unsuccessful 2003 bid to be governor. He was elected four years later, becoming his state’s first nonwhite governor.
“This is going to be an earned nomination; it will not be a coronation. And the person who earns this nomination you can almost guarantee will be outside the establishment and has been a governor implementing change,” he added.
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Jindal has been working hard at raising his national and international profile for months, visiting early voting states, like Iowa, where he met with local pastors, and New Hampshire, where he headlined an event at the Republican Women’s Club.
This week, Jindal ventured into extremely conservative foreign policy territory during a London speech, in which he condemned Muslim “no go zones” — the widely disproved theory that there are areas of Europe controlled by rogue Muslims who institute Sharia Law. Just hours before Jindal’s speech, Fox News had issued an apology for discussing “no go zones” saying “no credible information” exists confirming their existence.
Jindal gave a volley of media interviews after the speech, affirming repeatedly to NBC, CNN, and Fox that he wasn’t backing down at all. “I’m also making a bigger and maybe even more controversial point that radical Islam is a grave threat, we need Muslim leaders to denounce the individuals, not just the acts of violence,” Jindal added.