WASHINGTON — Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer opted to give up on his long-shot presidential bid on Friday.
After the failure of the online, third-party Americans Elect campaign two weeks ago, Roemer said Friday he will not attempt any longer to pursue the nominations of the Reform Party or any other smaller groups.
He cited the Reform Party’s lack of ballot access in most states and the inability to participate in national debates with President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
The upstart, centrist Americans Elect effort could have given Roemer much greater ballot access but, even though he led the online voting, no one came close to receiving the necessary voters in an online process that critics alleged was too cumbersome to navigate.
Roemer, 68, was “not happy” with Americans Elect’s decision to not field a candidate, but he said he understood the desire for a secure process.
“The key is ballot access,” Roemer said Thursday. “Really, we just couldn’t figure out a way to be a full-fledged legitimate candidate.
“We just didn’t get it done,” he added. “We came close, but this isn’t horseshoes.”
Kirby Goidel, political analyst and director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab, said Roemer ran the campaign like he wanted but just did not have much traction to “catch fire.”
“I think maybe the surprise isn’t that he’s quitting, but that he stayed in for so long,” Goidel said.
Roemer pledged though that he will continue to coordinate and work with other organizations to push for campaign finance reform, congressional term limits and other issues.
“I’ve made a personal commitment for the rest of my life I’ll be active in my attempts to bring reform to the halls of Congress and the corridors of the White House,” he said.
Roemer campaigned for president for 17 months, traveling the country and not accepting personal donations of more than $100.
In February, having failed to be included in the national GOP primary debates, Roemer switched from Republican to “No Party” to pursue the Americans Elect option. He said things might have been different if he had embraced the online, third-party option much sooner.
“Smarter people already knew,” he said. “The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are not interested in reform. They’re only interested in victory.”
Roemer officially announced the suspension of his campaign early Friday on his website in a letter thanking all of those who helped and supported them.
“We ran like we would serve — Free to Lead,” Roemer wrote. “To protect that freedom, we fully disclosed every contribution. We accepted no contributions above $100. We accepted no PAC money, no Super PAC money, no corporate money, and no lobbyist money.
“We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank.”