Posted: Sep 21, 2011 8:29 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. Bobby Jindal is backing up his campaign endorsements with cash.
Sitting on a hefty campaign account nearing $8 million and with little chance of losing his re-election bid, Jindal has spread his campaign dollars to a list of lawmakers and state education board members for the Oct. 22 election.
The Republican governor contributed $190,500 to candidates around Louisiana, giving more than 70 legislative candidates the maximum $2,500 contribution, according to his most recent campaign finance report filed with the state ethics administration and reviewed by The Associated Press.
That accounts for 13 percent of his spending in the latest reporting cycle, from July through earlier this month.
Contributions went largely to Republicans, but also to a handful of Democrats the governor backed this fall. The governor gave to many candidates who don't even have races to run because they drew no opposition, but who could help the governor get his agenda passed through the Legislature.
And the governor's top campaign strategist, Timmy Teepell, said Jindal has doled out another $67,500 since the report was filed for legislative candidates and contenders for the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
"That covers everyone we endorsed for those offices," Teepell said this week.
The governor didn't show favoritism. In the races where he's contributing, Jindal's giving everyone the maximum he can donate to their campaigns.
Jindal donated to all GOP lawmakers and at least one Democrat who are said to be vying to be House speaker and Senate president in the new terms that begin in January. He has yet to back his choices for the leadership jobs, but has been meeting with lawmakers about the positions.
Additional contributions, Teepell said, are slated for the re-election campaigns of Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain and Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, both members of the GOP.
Left out so far has been the Republican Party of Louisiana, where Jindal could make a much larger donation under Louisiana's campaign finance laws and to which Jindal has been urging his supporters to lodge their financial support.
"We're open to making a donation to the party. If it's needed, we definitely will," Teepell said.
Jindal has raised more than $14 million for this election cycle, and he has no well-financed challengers opposing him.
The governor has traveled the nation since taking office in 2008, drumming up campaign cash for his re-election bid.
For statewide races, Jindal hasn't given money to Treasurer John Kennedy or Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, both of whom will move to new terms without opposition.
Meanwhile, Teepell said the governor isn't endorsing anyone in the lieutenant governor's race, and he hasn't decided about the secretary of state's race. Both involve competitions between two Republican candidates.
In the BESE races, Jindal's latest campaign finance report shows $5,000 contributions to incumbents Chas Roemer of Baton Rouge and Jim Garvey of Metairie. He also gave the maximum amount to Holly Boffy, of Lafayette, who is challenging BESE member Dale Bayard in the southwest Louisiana-based district.