Primary profile: Buddy Roemer

Louisiana Gov. Charles E. “Buddy” Roemer 3rd had a fight on his hands.

MICHAEL MOORE / Sentinel Staff

After four terms as a Democratic U.S. congressman, two-term Gov. Roemer found himself in an uphill battle for re-election in 1991.

Staunchly opposed to accepting large campaign contributions, his wasn’t a well-funded campaign.

Behind the scenes, Roemer was picking up the pieces of his personal life after his second wife left him, and while he had balanced the state’s budget and made other notable policy strides, his aloof political style had done little to garner allies in the state’s Legislature, according to a book by Raymond D. Strother, a now-retired strategist who worked on the campaign.

Amidst all this, Roemer was taking heat from national Republicans to cross the aisle and join them, Strother later wrote in “Falling Up: How A Redneck Helped Invent Political Consulting.”

On March 11, 1991, Roemer flipped the switch and changed his party affiliation to Republican.

“I think for once the man was being pragmatic,” Strother said during an interview last month. “He’s about two steps in front of everyone in politics and I think he saw that the South was shifting and I think he wanted to ride the wave.
“He didn’t care about political parties, and he still doesn’t.”

It was a wave Roemer wouldn’t catch. Continue reading