NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said Wednesday he was entering the 2016 presidential race and he began trying to distinguish himself in a field packed with better known rivals.
It's a long shot effort for an accomplished but overshadowed governor, and his prospects will depend in large measure on his continued courtship of evangelical voters. But several other contenders also are
determined to win over that group.
SEE: Photos of the Louisiana governor leading up to the 2016 campaign trail
Louisiana Gov. Jindal declares 2016 GOP candidacy
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 02: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (L) and possible Republican presidential candidate prepares to walk off the stage with Florida Governor Rick Scott after he spoke during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the leading Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak during the event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal leads a prayer for victims of the Charleston shooting during the 'Road to Majority' conference June 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. Conservatives gathered at the annual event held by the Faith & Freedom Coalition and Concerned Women for America to discuss politics and address current events. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WAUKEE, IA - APRIL 25: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - MAY 16: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to guests at the Story County GOP breakfast at Oakwood Church May 16, 2015 in Ames, Iowa. Jindal and several other Republican presidential hopefuls are attending events in the state this weekend. Hillary Clinton, who hopes to become the Democrat's choice, is expected in Iowa for events on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 02: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and possible Republican presidential candidate speaks during the Rick Scott's Economic Growth Summit held at the Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Convention Center on June 2, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. Many of the leading Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak during the event. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal greets guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - APRIL 25: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaks during the National Rifle Association Annual Meeting Leadership Forum on April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NRA annual meeting runs from April 25-27. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MAY 09: Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal speaks at the Freedom Summit on May 9, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Jindal joined eleven other potential candidates in addressing the event hosted by conservative group Citizens United. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - MAY 09: Exploratory Republican presidential candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks to reporters at the Freedom Summit on May 9, 2015 in Greenville, South Carolina. Jindal joined eleven other potential candidates in addressing the event hosted by conservative group Citizens United. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 15: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal delivers remarks during the second day of the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 15, 2013 in National Harbor, Maryland. The American conservative Union held its annual conference in the suburb of Washington, DC, to rally conservatives and generate ideas. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal walks off stage after speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, DC on February 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO/ NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, arrives to speak during the Leadership Forum at the 144th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., on Friday, April 10, 2015. Top Republican contenders for their party's 2016 presidential nomination are lining up to speak at the annual NRA event, except New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who were snubbed by the country's largest and most powerful gun lobby. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"My name is Bobby Jindal, and I am running for president of the United States of America," he posted on his website. Short video clips showed Jindal and his wife, Supriya, talking to their three children about the campaign to come.
I had to tell a few people first. But I want you to be next. I'm running for President of the United States of America. Join me: http://www.bobbyjindal.com/announcement/
Aides discussed Jindal's plans to focus on social conservatives, as he has done for months in extensive travels, and highlight his reputation as a policy-seasoned leader.
Jindal intends to present himself as "the youngest candidate with the longest resume," citing an extensive background in public policy and government, strategist Curt Anderson said. Timmy Teepell, who was Jindal's chief of staff and ran his two races for governor, will be his campaign manager.
An Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants, Jindal can point to a political career filled with many unexpected achievements. He talked a governor into appointing him state health secretary when Jindal was 24, with little background in either health management or government. Jindal won election to Congress at 32 and became governor four years later.
Unpopular at home, Jindal waited until the state legislative session had ended and lawmakers found a way to close a $1.6 billion budget gap before he scheduled his presidential announcement. But he has been building his campaign for months with frequent trips to key presidential voting states, particularly Iowa, where he has focused on Christian conservatives.
Raised a Hindu but a convert to Catholicism as a teenager, Jindal has talked of his religious faith in small churches across Louisiana. As he readied his presidential campaign, the governor held a prayer rally in Baton Rouge, met pastors across several states and put out an executive order to grant special "religious freedom" protections to people in Louisiana who oppose same-sex marriage.
He is competing with several contenders, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who also are trying to appeal to the same pool of evangelical voters.
Jindal has worked to showcase more of the policy wonk reputation that got him elected governor, rather than focusing on cultural issues.
He has drawn distinctions from other GOP contenders by noting he has published "detailed plans" on health care, defense, education and energy policy.
He has suggested governors are better equipped to become president because they have run state governments, balanced budgets and implemented policy. That's an argument, however, that other White House hopefuls are making or can: Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio, as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
See the officially announced candidates for 2016 so far:
All officially announced 2016 Presidential candidates
Louisiana Gov. Jindal declares 2016 GOP candidacy
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (D)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York (D)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R)
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Former CEO, Businesswoman Carly Fiorina of California (R)