Charles Elson Roemer III began his formal political career in 1981 in the U.S. House of Representatives after winning Louisiana’s 4th District election as a Democrat. During his seven years sojourn in Washington, Roemer was well-known for regularly going against the party line and throwing his lot with the Reagan-led Republicans.
He left Congress to contest in the Louisiana gubernatorial election, only to lose to the incumbent, the legendary Edwin Edwards, whom Roemer blamed for his father’s 1981 conviction in a state insurance corruption scandal and the resulting jail sentence. Roemer returned four years later for another match up with Edwards, and despite trailing for most of the campaign, Roemer, under a banner of reform and a budget overhaul, surged to victory in the closing stages.
However, the Harvard graduate's ambitious agenda of overhauling the Bayou State’s $1.3 billion budget deficit and instituting a slew of economic reforms failed to take off. Instead, Roemer was forced to battle an unsupportive legislature on almost every issue. He took a beating in the press on a regular basis, and public support for him dwindled. With almost nothing worthwhile to show during his tenure as Governor beyond the legalization of floating casinos in the state, he faced the very real prospect of a one-term governorship. A late-term switch to the Republicans failed to change his fortune and predictably, Roemer was defeated once again by his old nemesis, Edwin Edwards. A failed attempt at recapturing the governorship in 1995 led to Roemer settling into private life.
After almost two decades of silence, Roemer’s sudden reemergence has left many in Washington and Louisiana wondering, although with a low name recognition factor and no notable endorsement behind him, it would be safe to say that the canny politician will be hard-pressed to make an impression.
On February 23 this year, Roemer announced that he was ending his bid for the GOP nomination, claiming that the party “turned their backs on the democratic process by choosing to exclude a former Governor and Congressman” from all of the twenty three presidential debates held thus far (then). He subsequently declared his candidacy for the non-partisan Americans Elect, and the Reform party.