Former Louisiana governor and dark horse presidential candidate Buddy Roemer was disappointed to learn that he would not be included on the Republican primary ballot in Florida.
“It is not only disheartening, but it is truly disappointing, that the greatest nation on earth — the model for all democracies abroad — still selects their president through a shady, archaic and behind-closed-doors system,” said Roemer in a statement Tuesday.
Unlike in other states, access to the primary ballot in Florida is decided by the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF).
“Pursuant to Florida law (s. 103.101(2), F.S.) and the Rules of the Republican Party of Florida, RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry submitted the names of its presidential candidates to be placed on the ballot for the January 31, 2012, Republican Presidential Preference Primary,” answered RPOF Communications Director Brian Hughes when questioned on the logic behind the decision.
Roemer is decidedly a dark horse candidate. He rarely appears on the ballot in polls, but when he does, he clocks in under, or around, 1 percent, and he has fallen short of the required threshold to be included in any of the debates.
But Roemer contended that these were not valid reasons to exclude him since former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has similarly low poll results but has been permitted to participate in one debate. He has also been included on the ballot in Florida.
“According to the latest American Research Group poll, I am tied with Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman and ahead of Gary Johnson in Florida,” Roemer said in the statement. “I am also within a few points of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. Keep in mind the rest of the field has been in eight or nine debates already.”
Indeed, in that poll Roemer ties with Santorum and Huntsman at 1 percent, while Johnson did not register enough support to have anything more than a dash. Bachmann is only slightly ahead with 3 percent. Again, it is difficult to say whether or not the poll is representative of Roemer’s standings in general, since he is included in few polls.
Roemer’s campaign manager, Carlos Sierra, said they would appeal the chairman’s decision, but that he understood that it was rare for anyone to succeed in that appeals process.
“We have a lot of supporters in Florida,” said Sierra, who noted that the third largest number of donations from a state that Roemer had received had come from Florida. Roemer, who was campaigning in Florida on Tuesday when he found out he would not be on the ballot, said he would still campaign in the state.
“I still plan on competing in Florida and the rest of the states and territories where I will not appear on the ballot. People are hungry for reform, and I am not going to let one person or two parties get in the peoples’ way,” he said.
Sierra said Roemer would also continue to campaign in South Carolina, where he will also not appear on the ballot, having declined to pay the filing fee required to do so.
As the path to the Republican nomination becomes more and more remote, Sierra said that, as the campaign manager, he was considering a third party run — potentially one through Americans Elect. But Roemer, he said, was not ready to throw in the towel yet.
“He’s really focused on New Hampshire and the Republican primary,” Sierra said.