He’s little known to most Republican voters nationally and merely an asterisk in most polls of Republican voters nationally and in most early voting states, but former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer plans to officially announce his campaign for the GOP nomination this week.
On Thursday, Roemer will make official his bid to gain the GOP nod to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama.
Roemer was a four-term member of Congress from the Pelican State before winning an election to a term as governor in 1987. He decided to switch parties to become a Republican in 1991 and was rewarded by losing the gubernatorial primary election to former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke.
Earlier this year, Roemer said he was “doing my homework” in advance of a potential presidential run, according to National Journal. “I’m getting ready to make my case with the American people,” he told the Monroe News Star in January.
Now, new campaign director Carlos Sierra, a former Congressional staffer for Sen. John McCain, tells Politico, “We’re ready to move forward. He’s one of the first candidates to file his exploratory committee, and now we’re one of the last, if not the last, to make it official.”
Shut out of the televised Republican presidential debates because of his low standing, FEC reports indicate he’s raised merely $41,000 for his presidential campaign and $10,000 of the amount came from a donation Roemer made to his own campaign. He has pledged to take only contributions of $100 per person and not accept any money from political action committees.
Roemer is taking his campaign seriously and told Politico he is moving to New Hampshire and renting a place to complete in the Granite State, saying, “I’ve decided to move to New Hampshire. I’m going to rent a place up there and spend significant, continuous time there.”
The former Louisiana governor is pro-life but drew the ire of pro-life advocates in July 1990 when he vetoed a bill that would have banned abortion in Louisiana, coming at a time when pro-life advocates thought the Supreme Court had enough votes to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade if a lawsuit against the law would have been taken to the high court.
Roemer told the Los Angeles Times at that point that the bill “does not meet even the minimum standards set by me long ago” and he criticized state legislators who he said rushed the abortion bill by attaching it to another bill that banned flag burning. That was the second time Roemer had vetoed a bill banning abortions — overturning one that limited abortions except for the life of the mother and another than contained the life of the mother and rape and incest exceptions. Louisiana lawmakers came up three votes short of overturning the veto.
At the time, Burke Balch, an attorney at the National Right to Life Committee, called Roamer’s veto “a betrayal by a governor who has been on the record as pro-life.”
State Sen. Mike Cross, a leader of pro-life legislators in the Louisiana legislator, told the Times after the veto, “I think he’s (the governor) trying to play all sides and I think politically it will catch up with him. He’s playing wishy-washy with the people of this state.”