Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer announces run for president

Friday, July 22, 2011

Former governor Buddy Roemer of Louisiana
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer announced Thursday at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire that he will officially run for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2012. Roemer, who had explored a bid for the past several months, wants to focus his campaign on the issues of campaign finance reform and fair trade.

Roemer, 67, served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1980s as a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected governor in 1987 and served once again as a Democratic Party member before switching to the Republican Party ahead of the 1991 gubernatorial election. He lost the party's primary to David Duke, who is also considering a 2012 presidential run.

Roemer, who has $19,000 left from his exploratory committee, only accepts contributions from individuals below $100. He argued during his announcement that "I have deliberately chosen a path requiring the help of many because that’s the way to win and, more importantly, that’s the way to get these mighty things done after the election." He says he is waging his campaign against "special interests".

Political adviser Mark McKinnon who worked on Roemer's first gubernatorial campaign, argues that he "has an important message about the corrupt influence of money in politics" but complains that the media has delegated him as an "improbable, long-shot, third-tier, comic book" candidate. Roemer has not been invited to any Republican primary debates and usually polls below one percent.

He has based his campaign in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, where he leases an apartment, and plans to utilize a one-on-one strategy to build grassroots support. He enters a growing field of candidates that includes fellow former governors Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Jon Huntsman, Jr. of Utah and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, as well as Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Ron Paul of Texas and Thad McCotter of Michigan. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain are also running.

Roemer argues that "neither the president nor any of the other candidates for this office addresses or has solutions for the major problems facing America." But Roemer believes he does. He tells viewers to stay tuned to his campaign and that it will be something "you don’t wanna miss".