Buddy Roemer

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Charles Elson Roemer, III, known as Buddy Roemer (born 1943), is a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned Independent who served a single term from 1988 to 1992 as governor of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Prior to his governorship, Roemer was from 1981 to 1988 a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's Fourth Congressional District, a seat now held by the Republican John Fleming of Minden in Webster Parish.

Roemer is the son of the late Charles E. Roemer, II, an agri-businessman prominent in Democratic politics, and the former Adeline McDade. Reared in Bossier Parish, he graduated from Harvard University.

Roemer lost a 1978 election for Congress when the Democrat Joe Waggonner retired, but he rebounded in 1980 to claim the seat held by Democrat Claude "Buddy" Leach, then of Leesville in Vernon Parish. In 1987, he wrestled the governorship from Edwin Edwards, for whom Roemer's father had been commissioner of administration from 1972 to 1980. Edwards trailed Roemer in the nonpartisan blanket primary that year and then withdrew from a second round of balloting. In effect he left Roemer unopposed for the governorship. The Republican candidate that year, Bob Livingston, fared a weak third.

Roemer's term as governor was controversial as he wrestled with long-term state financial problems. He also angered prolife advocates when he vetoed a bill to restrict abortion. In March 1991, he switched to the Republican Party but lost reelection later in the year to his former rival Edwin Edwards. Roemer failed to make the runoff election, as Edwards handily defeated the nominal Republican choice, outgoing State Representaative David Duke, who ran without the backing of influential GOP leaders, including former Governor David C. Treen.

Roemer finished in fourth place with 18 percent of the vote in a gubernatorial comeback attempt in 1995. Victory went to another Republican, Mike Foster.

In 2012, he sought the Republican presidential nomination, but with low poll standings was not invited to the primary debates. He subsequently withdrew from the Republican Party and re-registered in Baton Rouge, where he reisdes, as an Independent. He has endorsed the Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico in the 2012 general election. Johnson had also briefly sought the GOP presidential nod in 2012.

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