Two Gulf State governors -- Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas -- turned their eyes to South Carolina and Florida this week as they consider launching bids for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
As Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina launched her re-election campaign on Monday, Jindal, Perry and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, another possible 2016 Republican contender, stood with her. South Carolina holds its presidential primary, the first in the South, after the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary.
Jindal praised Haley for standing against President Barack Obamas federal health care law. She stood up against Obamacare and said no for the United States and for South Carolina, Jindal said.
Perry, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last time out and flopped after high expectations, also said Haleys campaign had national implications.
Its about blue states versus red states, Perry said. It is a national conversation I hope Americans are engaging with over the course of the next few years. Look at which one of these states policies actually work, and my instincts are that most of the time its going to be a red state.
Jindal and Perry will have another chance to test the waters in a key primary state this weekend as they speak at Americans for Prosperitys (AFP) Restoring the American Dream event in Orlando. They will be joined by other possible Republican presidential candidates at the event including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Florida was next in line after South Carolina during the 2012 presidential cycle, holding its primary after the Palmetto State had its say.
The stakes are high for both men. Perry entered the 2012 presidential contest late but he quickly rocketed to the top of the polls. A series of bad debate performances haunted Perry and he soon lost momentum, including being upset by businessman Herman Cain at the Republican Party of Floridas Presidency 5 straw poll. After taking 10 percent in Iowa and 1 percent in New Hampshire, Perry dropped out of the race. Since then, he has been active trying to bring businesses from other states to Texas, highlighting the Lone Star States low taxes. Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas history, announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election in 2014.
Jindals poll numbers have faded in recent months and he faces term limits in 2015. Part of that comes from Jindals plan to phase out the state income tax and raise sales taxes, which went nowhere with Republican legislators and Louisiana voters. Like Perry, Jindal has been an afterthought in the early polls of the 2016 campaign.
Still, both men have been able to build national reputations by fighting for conservative economic and social policies. As they speak to the tea party-aligned AFP this weekend, both Jindal and Perry can make their first pitches for 2016.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.