With Buddy Roemer Leading the Way, Third Party Presidential Bids Take Shape
Around the State
This week, prominent politicians -- from the left, the right and the middle -- looked to take advantage of public frustration with the two major parties by preparing third party bids for the White House.
Former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana announced late Wednesday that he will seek the nomination of Americans Elect, a group working to obtain ballot access in the presidential race, while continuing his bid for the Republican nomination. Roemer, who has been an active supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement, weighed in on the matter in a statement.
“Today I officially announce that I will seek the Americans Elect nomination as a proud Republican but as an even prouder American,” Roemer said. “Our country is on the wrong track and Americans are in search of real leadership -- leadership that isn't predetermined by lobbyists, political parties, or Wall Street executives, but leadership that is free to do what is right for the citizens of our great nation.
“Many Americans are unemployed or without health insurance, or both,” Roemer continued. “Some have been foreclosed on or about to be foreclosed on. Sadly, the list goes on and on. From the tea party movement to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is safe to say Americans have lost faith in their government and neither President Obama nor Congress have put aside politics in order to help their fellow Americans.
“I will take my message of ending business as usual in Washington directly to the American people,” Roemer said. “No other candidate is free from the special interests or has the experience I have. I am a former governor, four-term congressman, successful businessman and Harvard-educated economist. And yet, the Republican Party has not allowed me in the debates. Perhaps they don't like my message about the corrupting influence of money in politics. But, I believe the American people want to hear the message, so I'm going to seek the nomination of Americans Elect which appears eager to welcome diverse and controversial opinions that may upset the status quo.”
Despite his harsh words for the GOP, Roemer said he intends to stay in the Republican race.
“I will continue to campaign for the Republican nomination and hope to surprise everyone on Jan. 10 in New Hampshire,” he concluded.
While Roemer has focused on the Granite State, which holds the first presidential primary, and was a very active supporter of John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008, he has failed to gain traction and has been shut out of the debates with the other Republican hopefuls.
Roemer was elected to the U.S. House in 1980 as a Democrat -- and became one of the leading members of his party who reached out across the aisle to work with Ronald Reagan -- before running for governor in 1987. During his term, Roemer jumped over to the Republicans but lost out in his bid for a second term. Roemer backed Democrat Edwin Edwards over the Republican who bested him in the primary -- former state Rep. David Duke, who had been affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan. Roemer ran for governor again in 1995, but lost and spent the better part of a decade and a half as a bank president.
During his term, Roemer backed campaign finance reform, an issue that he has highlighted on the campaign trail. Taking a page from Jerry Brown’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, Roemer said he would not accept any contributions of more than $100 and would not accept PAC money.
Roemer was not the only prominent politician to look at launching a third party presidential bid this week. Former Salt Lake City, Utah, Mayor Rocky Anderson announced plans to form a new party -- dubbed the Justice Party -- and challenge Obama from the left. Anderson has been a prominent supporter of same-sex marriage and an opponent of the American invasion of Iraq. Elected in 2000 and winning a second term in 2004, Anderson served as mayor when Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympic games which were led by former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts who ranks as one of the leading hopefuls for the Republican nomination.
Buzz continues to grow that other prominent politicians could launch third party bids for the White House. Former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico has floundered in his bid for the Republican nomination and could make a bid for the Libertarian Party’s nomination.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.