It was Mike Huckabee in 2008, then Rick Santorum in 2012.
Now, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is working Iowa hard with thehopes he could be the stateâ€™s surprise victor of2016.
â€œI think weâ€™re doing verywell in Iowa,â€ Jindal said in a recent interview withThe Daily Caller about his new book â€œAmericanWill: The Forgotten Choices That Changed Our Republicâ€”Â And Offer Lessons For ItsFuture.â€
â€œI think this entire race changes afterFebruary 1, after the caucus,â€ the Republicanpresidential candidate said. â€œI thinkweâ€™re going to win here in Iowa, and I thinkthatâ€™s going to propel us forward to thenomination.â€
Jindal has a long way to go before the state votes in less than100 days: Iowaâ€™s last two Republican winners,Huckabee and Santorum, are running again. Ben Carson, Donald Trumpand Ted Cruz are polling ahead of him too.
But a NBC poll this month showing Jindal in fifth place in Iowahas given him optimism, considering Santorum was barely registeringin the polls at this time four years ago before going on to win thestateâ€™s caucuses.
Jindal has been to 53 of Iowaâ€™s 99 countiesso far, doing town-hall meetings.
â€œWeâ€™re moving up inIowa,â€ he said.â€œWeâ€™re doing well.Weâ€™re seeing more and more crowds. I know votershere tend to decide late.â€
Talking about his new book, which came out last week, Jindalsaid: â€œSo many of these political books are thesame old kind of boring recitations of different policyprescriptions or folksâ€™ autobiography. I wantedto do something a little more interesting. So I wanted to actuallytell important stories about some of ourcountryâ€™s key figures at pivotal and importantmoments in our nationâ€™shistory.â€
Jindal, raised Hindu, also uses the book to talk about his ownlife and his conversion to Christianity as a young man. Hisparents, he recalls, werenâ€™t thrilled with hisdecision.
â€œThey were shocked by that,â€ herecalled in an interview. â€œI think they wentthrough different stages. At first it was something they needed tounderstand â€” why I was doing this, what thismeant, how serious was I, was this a fad?â€
Jindal said his conversion to Christianity was a process lastingseven years.
Asked about Hillary Clintonâ€™s testimony lastweek on Benghazi, Jindal said: â€œThis is aboutfour Americans that died, itâ€™s about figuringhow and why that happened and how do we prevent that from happeningin the future.â€
â€œSecondly, itâ€™s importantto step back and remember the only thing that Hillary Clinton hasever run has been this presidentâ€™s foreignpolicy. It has been a failure everywhere around theworld.â€
Citing Russia, Iran, China and ISIS, Jindal said:â€œThis whole idea of leading from behindhasnâ€™t worked. Projecting weakness has onlyemboldened our adversaries, and it has been an absolute failureeverywhere around the world. Our friends donâ€™ttrust us and our enemies donâ€™t fear and respectus.â€
Asked about Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryanâ€™s likelyascension to speaker of the House next week, Jindal said:â€œI like Paul. We served together. I thinkheâ€™s a smart guy. I thinkheâ€™s a principled guy.â€
â€œHere are the questions I would ask, whetheritâ€™s Paul or anybody else that wants to bespeaker, if I were still in the conference,â€ Jindalsaid. â€œIâ€™d want to know willour leadership make a commitment to fight for our principles, justas hard as Pelosi and Reid and Obama will fight fortheirs?â€
Jindal says he will participate in nextweekâ€™s undercard debate in Colorado, somethinghis campaign had suggested was up in the air while they argued heshould be included in the prime-time debate with those polling atthe top of the field.
â€œIâ€™m happy to debateanybody anywhere anytime,â€ he said.
The Republican said the RNC and the networks hosting the debateare making a mistake by using national polls, instead of polls inthe early states, to determine who gets to participate in theprimetime debate.
â€œThe reality is we donâ€™thave a national primary,â€ he said.â€œI think itâ€™s a mistake totry to clear the field. I think the RNC should be paying attentionto where the voters are, the first votes are counted in these earlystates.â€
â€œIf they did,â€ he added,â€œobviously weâ€™d be on themain stage.â€