- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The field of candidates in the Louisiana governor’s race grew to four Thursday, with the addition of Republican Scott Angelle, a member of Louisiana’s utility regulatory agency, the Public Service Commission.

Angelle, a long-time government official from Breaux Bridge, announced he would be a candidate on the October 2015 ballot, when Gov. Bobby Jindal is term-limited and can’t run for re-election.

“I have chosen to dedicate my adult life to public service. As I reviewed the opportunity in front of Louisiana, I thought I was qualified and certainly want to bring my spirit and passion to that opportunity,” he said.

With a thick Cajun accent, fiery oratory skills and back-slapping charm, Angelle grew up in a political family and spent most of his adult life in public office across Acadiana and in Baton Rouge.

Angelle served more than eight years as secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, working in the position for both Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and Democratic former Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Before that, he was president of St. Martin Parish.

He spent several years as part of Jindal’s inner circle of advisers, working as the governor’s chief legislative lobbyist. Jindal appointed Angelle as a temporary lieutenant governor when the office was vacant for six months in 2010. In that job, Angelle oversaw a multimillion-dollar tourism promotion effort after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A long-time Democrat, Angelle switched to the GOP four years ago while working for the Jindal administration. He has been on the PSC since 2013 and won’t lose that elected post if his bid for governor is unsuccessful.

Angelle didn’t offer a campaign platform or describe specific issues he wanted to highlight in the race, saying he’d talk about policy after his official campaign launch early next year. He also wouldn’t outline differences between himself and the other candidates.

For now he described his focus as: “Travel, listen, fundraise. Travel, listen, fundraise.”

Three other candidates had previously announced for the race: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and U.S. Sen. David Vitter, both Republicans, and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat. Angelle’s decision was first reported by Jeremy Alford, who runs a political news service and website called LaPolitics.

Though the race is a year away, Angelle will need to play catch-up in fundraising, and he lags Vitter and Dardenne in name recognition among the GOP contenders. His long-time work for the Jindal administration also could be a drawback with voters, since the governor’s approval ratings in the state remain low.

Edwards immediately sought to tie Angelle to Jindal’s policies.

“While I have consistently stood up to Bobby Jindal, regardless of his poll numbers, Scott has been the governor’s loudest cheerleader,” Edwards said in a statement.

Asked whether his link to Jindal could be a liability, Angelle replied: “I think campaigns have a lot of challenges. I’ve worked for two governors, and having said that, I intend to be myself, run as myself and speak for myself.”

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