The candidate — most people just call him Buddy — has been running since spring of 2011, but when the campaign left New Hampshire for the looming showdowns in South Carolina and Florida, Roemer didn’t go with it. He plans to make his next stand in Michigan, which holds a primary Feb. 28. South Carolina votes on Saturday, but as it happens, the Palmetto State charges candidates $35,000 to file the paperwork to run for president. The Roemer campaign doesn’t have that kind of money, let alone the millions it takes to compete on the airways in the mega-state of Florida.
This is Roemer’s own choice, or at least he believes it is. He has refused to accept special interest money of any kind, and installed a self-imposed ceiling on individual contributions of $100. He says he’s trying making a point about money and politics. The question is whether Americans will ever get to hear it, which forms the essential paradox of Buddy Roemer’s presidential campaign.
Without money, Roemer can’t run many television ads, or even hire much of a staff, and because he can’t get publicity or build up his name identification outside of his native state, he can’t rise in the public opinion polls. Because he doesn’t rise in the polls, the news organizations that have sponsored the 20 GOP debates haven’t let Roemer participate.
Roemer’s adherence to principle is not new; neither is the stubborn streak that makes it difficult for him to actually alter the entrenched institutions he is so intent on reforming.