Governor Bobby Jindal joins the most wide open field since the presidential primary system caught on in the 1960s.
Republicans generally have a candidate in waiting, often the guy that lost to the last nominee - Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H.W. Bush in 88 and Mitt Romney four years ago.
The Democrats had the free-for-all.
This time, more than a dozen GOP names crowd the race.
Jindal's early strategy seems to be run to the right of most of the field.
He is appealing to Evangelical Christians and conservative voters who tend to turn out in bigger numbers in Republican primaries and caucuses.
As a candidate for governor, Jindal played up the post-Katrina job boom and economic momentum.
He criss-crossed the state, making frequent announcements about companies bringing jobs.
Wednesday morning, he announced Monsanto, an agricultural company, is eying a possible $1 billion expansion in St. Charles Parish.
But Louisiana's economy has slowed, partly as oil and gas prices fell. The statewide unemployment rate now tops six and a half percent, about one point higher than the national average.
Also, Jindal finds himself in danger of missing out on the first debate. Only the top ten candidates in the polls get a spot on the stage August 6 in Cleveland.
Hovering at about one percent in the national polls, Jindal must decide whether to spend from his campaign war chest early, or take his case directly to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.