Bobby Jindal, the first Indian-American to run for the White House, dropped out of the race Tuesday, unable to find traction among Republicans and raise enough funds to last longer.
His poll numbers were stuck in the single-digits at the bottom of the list, confining him to what has been derisively called the “kiddie-table” primary debates, where he had his moments.
Not enough, however, to stave off reports of a sputtering campaign on life-support. In a conference call with reporters, his campaign cited lack of resources among his reasons for exit.
“This is not my time,” Jindal said in a statement. He is the third Republican to leave the race, after Rick Perry and Scott Walker. There are 14 left now, with more exits expected over time.
“When I was born, we lived in student housing at LSU (Louisiana State University), and never in their (his parents) wildest dreams did they think their son would have the opportunity to serve as Governor of Louisiana or to run for President,” he said.
Jindal’s family migrated to the US from Punjab, India, 45 years ago but he insisted he was not running as an Indian-American, saying he was tired of hyphenated Americans.
But he is an Indian-American and his place in history is secure as the first member from the community to both be elected governor (Nikki Haley is the second) and run for president.
Jindal is also the second Indian-American ever to be elected to the House of Representatives, the first was Dalip Singh Saund. Ami Bera is the third, serving his second term now.
Though irritated by his insistence at not being called Indian-American, the community, most of whom vote Democratic, followed his campaign closely.
Jindal had focused on Iowa, traditionally the first state for primaries in both parties, investing most of his resources there, and had even seen a bump in numbers.
He pitched himself as most conservative of the candidates, who had cut the size of government in Louisiana, and tailored his appeal for the Republican party’s religious base.
But the Louisiana governor found himself out-shouted, out-performed and out-raised by a race and field shaped by the flashy New York real estate tycoon Donald Trump.
Jindal even tried going after Trump with insults to get him to react that has worked for some others. But the frontrunner kept his insults trained on his closest rivals.
Now out of the race, Jindal is faced with an uncertain future. He has reached the limit of two terms for governor of Louisiana. And he is not considering a senate run, his campaign said.
Jindal said he will work for the non-profit think tank he founded in 2013 in exploring a run for the White House, “where I will be outlining a blueprint for making this the American century”.
At 44 (Jindal was the youngest candidate in the race, including both parties), he is too young to retire, but many believe he may find a cabinet position in a Republican administration.