BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- A conservative Republican congressman won the Louisiana governor's election Saturday, becoming the first Indian-American to lead a U.S. state.
With most of the vote counted, Bobby Jindal had more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff against 12 opponents, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. Under the Louisiana system, candidates compete in an open election with the two top vote-getters in a runoff if no one gets more than half the vote.
Jindal is the first to win the first election outright since Louisiana adopted the system in 1975.
Jindal first ran for governor four years ago, losing a close race to Democrat Kathleen Blanco. She decided not to seek a second term after enduring bruising criticism of her handling of Hurricane Katrina.
The son of Indian immigrants, Jindal is a Rhodes Scholar and a convert from Hinduism to Catholicism.
He takes over a state that is the poorest in the country. New Orleans, Louisiana's major city, was already troubled before Katrina put it under water.