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Buddy Roemer elbows into a crowded GOP presidential field

July 22, 2011 | 12:58 pm


Charles Elson "Buddy" Roemer III is running for the GOP nomination for president.

Outside of Louisiana -- where Shreveport-born Roemer was a four-term member of Congress in the early to mid-'80s, and the state's one-term 52nd governor back in the late '80s and early '90s -- the response of most GOP voters would probably be, "Who?"

Of course, that's the same reaction many had to the candidacy of Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, but at least he had recent appearances on C-SPAN and Fox News' "RedEye W/Greg Gutfeld" to his credit. The 67-year-old Roemer has been out of politics since attempting a gubernatorial comeback in 1995, working in finance and banking (as befits a Harvard MBA).

These days, the only excitement over a Louisiana governor running for the Republican nod would be if the statehouse's present occupant, Bobby Jindal, jumped in -- and there's no indication of that.

Roemer's announcement at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire on Thursday was under the motto of "Free to Lead" -- which he is, as is everybody else in the race, since none of the announced candidates is incarcerated or a convicted felon.

Roemer was a Democrat when he served as a congressman and a governor, switching to the Republican Party about a year before leaving Baton Rouge after an unsuccessful reelection bid. This means Roemer has never actually been elected as a Republican. In a race where there's a lot of chatter about who's "electable" and who's not, this could be a problem.

But Roemer appears to be quite serious, even recently moving to Manchester, N.H., to raise his profile and talk about the issues of unfair trade practices (a particular favorite of current non-GOP-candidate Donald Trump) and campaign finance (a particular favorite of former GOP presidential candidate John McCain).

Roemer has announced he won't take campaign donations over $100. Considering the burgeoning size of the GOP field and the rate at which purported front-runner Mitt Romney is vacuuming up campaign dollars, even a Benjamin might be an ambitious benchmark from individual donors.

With his low name recognition and late entry into the race, Roemer is a long-shot. But he is getting some media attention, including a Thursday appearance on Fox News' "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren." Click here for a video and transcript of the interview.

But if there's one thing everybody knows about how primary battles will end, it's that nobody knows how primary battles will end, until they do.


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-- Kate O'Hare

Media critic Kate O’Hare is a regular Ticket contributor. She also blogs about TV at Hot Cuppa TV and is a frequent contributor at entertainment-news site Zap2it. Also follow O'Hare on Twitter @KateOH

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Photo: Buddy Roemer. Credit: Steve Pope / Getty Images