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Buddy Roemer

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Buddy Roemer
52nd Governor of Louisiana
In office
March 14, 1988 – January 13, 1992
LieutenantPaul Hardy
Preceded byEdwin Edwards
Succeeded byEdwin Edwards
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1981 – March 14, 1988
Preceded byBuddy Leach
Succeeded byJim McCrery
Personal details
Charles Elson Roemer, III

(1943-10-04)October 4, 1943
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedMay 17, 2021(2021-05-17) (aged 77)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Cause of deathProblems caused by diabetes
Political partyRepublican (1991–2012, 2013–2021)
Other political
Democratic (Before 1991)
Reform (2012–2013)
Spouse(s)Frances "Cookie" Demler (Divorced)
Patti Crocker (Divorced)
Scarlett Roemer[1]
ChildrenCaroline Roemer Shirley (with Cookie)
Chas Roemer (with Cookie)
Dakota Frost Roemer (with Patti)
Alma materHarvard University

Charles Elson "Buddy" Roemer III (October 4, 1943 – May 17, 2021) was an American politician and banker. He served as the 52nd Governor of Louisiana from 1988 to 1992. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988.

Roemer was a candidate for the presidential nominations of the Republican Party[2] and the Reform Party[3] in 2012.

In March 1991, while serving as governor, Roemer switched his party from the Democratic to the Republican Party.[4] In 2012, he became a member of the Reform Party. A year later, Roemer switched parties to become a Republican again.

Early life

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Roemer was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.[5] His parents were Charles Elson "Budgie" Roemer, II and Adeline McDade.[5] He was raised in Bossier City.[6]

In 1964, he graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. In 1967, he received an MBA in finance from Harvard Business School.[6] After college, Roemer returned to Louisiana to work in his father’s computer business and later founded two banks. He was elected in 1972 as a delegate to the Louisiana Constitutional Convention held in 1973.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives (1981-1988)

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As a member of Congress, Roemer Louisiana's 1st congressional district in the northwestern section of the state, anchored about Shreveport and Bossier City. After his 1980 election victory, Roemer won congressional re-election without opposition in 1982, 1984, and 1986.

In Congress, Roemer frequently supported Reagan policy initiatives and fought with the Democratic congressional leadership,[6] though he remained in the party. He also criticized then Democratic House leader Tip O'Neill of Massachusetts for being "too liberal".[8]

After Roemer left the House to become governor, he was succeeded by his administrative assistant, Republican Jim McCrery.

Governor of Louisiana (1988-1992)

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Roemer speaking at a John McCain presidential rally in Louisiana, June 2008

Roemer was one of a large number of Democratic candidates to challenge three-term incumbent governor Edwin Edwards. Roemer won the election by winning 33% of the vote compared to Edwards' 28%.

Roemer entered the governor's office on March 14, 1988. In October 1989, voters rejected a number of Roemer tax initiatives but approved a constitutional amendment for transportation improvements.[9] Facing a $1.3 billion deficit in the state budget, his first job was eliminating the deficit. Roemer called a special session of the legislature to push an ambitious tax and fiscal reform program for state and local governments. He vowed to slash spending, abolish programs, and close state-run institutions. Voters rejected his proposals in a statewide constitutional referendum.

In March 1991, Roemer switched to the Republican Party just months before the state elections,[10] apparently at the urging of Bush White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Roemer lost his re-election after loosing the Republican primary to David Duke. Duke would soon loose to Edwin Edwards.

Roemer left office on January 13, 1992. He would run again for the Republican nomination for governor, but lost to Mike Foster.

2004 U.S. Senate election

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In the summer of 2004, Roemer briefly considered entering the race to succeed retiring U.S. Senator John Breaux. Roemer shortly after decided not to run for the senate.

2012 presidential campaign

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Roemer speaking at a Reform Party campaign in New Jersey, December 2011

In January 2011, Roemer told Baton Rouge television station WAFB that he was considering a bid for the U.S. presidency in 2012.[11][12][13] On July 21, 2011 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, Roemer announced his entry as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President. On November 30, 2011, Roemer officially announced that he would seek the Americans Elect nomination.[14][15] On February 23, 2012, Roemer dropped out of the GOP nomination to seek the Reform Party's nomination.[16] On May 17, 2012, Americans Elect announced that it would not run a candidate in the 2012 presidential elections.

On May 31, 2012, he announced that he was ending his 2012 presidential campaign altogether, citing the lack of ballot access to be the reason[3]

Personal life

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Roemer was married to Cookie Delmer until they divorced. Then he married Patti Crocker until they divorced. He was married Scarlett Roemer. Roemer had three children with Delmer.

Roemer died at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from problems caused by diabetes, aged 77.[17]


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  1. Duckler, Ray (October 2, 2011). "Surprise! Roemer's running". Concord Monitor. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  2. Tilove, Jonathan (February 22, 2012). "Buddy Roemer gives up GOP bid to seek two third-party nods". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Burns, Alexander (May 31, 2012) "Buddy Roemer quits 2012 race", Politico. Retrieved May 31, 2012
  4. "ROEMER, Charles Elson (Buddy), III". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mullaney, Marie Marmo (1994). Biographical directory of the governors of the United States, 1988–1994. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-313-28312-3. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Fuerbringer, J. (June 12, 1987). "Roemer finds poker valuable". The Times-News. Hendersonville, NC. New York Times News Service. p. 24. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  7. "Governor Buddy Roemer is a Maverick Southern Politician". Waycross Journal-Herald. Associated Press. October 16, 1990.
  8. Fuerbringer, Jonathan (June 10, 1987). "WASHINGTON TALK: Avocations; Networking at the Poker Table". The New York Times.
  9. "Roemer's loss, victgory are state's top stories," Minden Press-Herald, December 31, 1989, p. 1
  10. "Trio in Louisiana make up unusual slate for governor". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. March 18, 1991.[permanent dead link]
  11. Kornacki, Steve (2011-03-03) The White House hopeful who lost to the Klansman Archived 2011-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Salon.com
  12. "A Louisiana Governor for President – Weekly column by John Maginnis". LaPolitics.com. Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  13. "Buddy Roemer for president?". The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Archived from the original on February 4, 2011. Retrieved Feb 4, 2011.
  14. Krupa, Charles (November 30, 2011). "Buddy Roemer to seek Americans Elect third-party nomination for president". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  15. Linkins, Jason (December 1, 2011). "Buddy Roemer Throws In His Lot With Americans Elect – Which Is A Huge Mistake". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  16. Buddy Roemer for President. "Thank You for Your Support | Buddy Roemer for President". Buddyroemer.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-11. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  17. Buddy Roemer, Louisiana's former Democrat-turned-Republican governor, dies at 77

More reading

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  • Bridges, Tyler. The Rise of David Duke. University of Mississippi: Jackson, 1994. ISBN 978-0-87805-684-2
  • Bridges, Tyler. Bad Bet on the Bayou: The Rise of Gambling in Louisiana, and the Fall of Governor Edwin Edwards. Farrar, Straus & Giroux: New York, 2001. ISBN 978-0-374-52854-6
  • DuBos, Clancy. “Roemer’s Redemption: The Former Governor Takes Another Shot at the Mansion.” Gambit Weekly. September 19, 1995.
  • Gardner, James C., Jim Gardner and Shreveport, Vol. II. Shreveport: Ritz Publications, 2006, 285–288.
  • Gomez, Ron (2000), My Name Is Ron And I'm a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishing, ISBN 0-9700156-0-7
  • Maginnis, John. Cross to Bear. Darkhorse Press, Baton Rouge, 1992. ISBN 978-0-9614138-2-8
  • Reeves, Miriam G. The Governors of Louisiana. Gretna: Pelican Press, 1991. ISBN 978-1-58980-262-9

Other websites

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