Plagued by fundraising difficulties and stagnant in the polls, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday evening that he was suspending his presidential campaign.
"My parents came to this country 45 years ago searching for freedom and a chance," Jindal said in a statement. "They raised me to believe Americans can do anything, and they were right, we can. But this is not my time, so I am suspending my campaign for president."
Jindal was once viewed as a rising star in the GOP, and famously delivered the party's response to Barack Obama's first-ever presidential address to Congress. But after two terms as Louisiana governor, he's grown to be deeply unpopular in his home state — he has a 70 percent disapproval rating in a recent poll. He had hoped, however, that his program of hard-line spending cuts and social conservatism would position him as a presidential contender.
But his campaign never caught on. Barely a blip in national polls, Jindal failed to qualify for any of the four primetime GOP debates so far — and he didn't impress all that much in the undercard segments either, where he had all of Donald Trump's anger but none of his charisma. His fundraising was weak — he had raised just $1.1 million by the end of the third quarter — and his hopes of winning over socially conservative Iowa voters never went anywhere.
Since Jindal's been such an afterthought in the campaign so far, his decision to drop out of the race doesn't seem to change all that much — the GOP field has now shrunk from 17 candidates to 14. Still, some analysts and reporters had been arguing that it was at least possible that Jindal could catch on late in Iowa and win the caucuses. Now, though, Jindal's hard-edged conservatism and his hopes of appealing to evangelicals are out of the picture for good — which could potentially help Ted Cruz, who won a major Iowa endorsement this week.
Though Jindal is leaving office as Louisiana governor early next year, he doesn't seem ready to exit the political scene entirely. In his statement, he said that "one of the things" he'll do next is work at a think tank he started, America Next. Yet he's so unpopular in Louisiana — seriously, even 55 percent of Republicans disapprove of his performance, compared with just 32 percent who approve of it — that another run for office there seems unlikely.