U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal has won the Louisiana gubernatorial election to become the nation's youngest governor and the first non-white to hold the governorship in Louisiana since Reconstruction. The governor-elect also is a strong Catholic who has authored pamphlets on Catholicism that have drawn the ire of some Protestants.
Jindal had 625,036 votes, 53 percent, with about 92 percent of the vote tallied. His acquisition of the majority of votes avoids a run-off election in November.
A 36 year-old Republican, Jindal is the son of Indian immigrants. He was educated at Oxford and oversaw the Louisiana health department before first running for governor in 2003. His 2007 campaign took advantage of the incumbent governor Kathleen Blanco's perceived failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American Dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana," he said to cheers and applause at his victory party.
Jindal converted from Hinduism to Catholicism in his teens. His faith became an issue in the campaign when opponents launched an advertisement misrepresenting some of his essays explaining his view of Protestantism. The advertising effort tried to stir up anti-Catholic sentiment by focusing on heavily Protestant areas of the state.