This morning former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer sent out an e-mail announcing he was suspending his presidential campaign. Below is his statement:
After 17 months of a wonderful campaign, the lack of ballot access in all 50 states makes the quest impossible for now.
I want to thank my family, particularly my wife Scarlett, and my three children Caroline, Chas, and Dakota. I’d also like to thank my three sisters, Margaret, Melinda, Melanie, and my brother Danny for all of their efforts.
I could not have done this without the guidance and brilliance of my campaign manager, Carlos Sierra of El Paso, and without the new media expertise of Jill Sherman and Morgan Martinez, the volunteer efforts of Joshua Chavers, the start-up assistance of a great leader, Skardon Baker of Los Angeles, the courage of my New England director, Jim Knowlton of Worchester, and the scheduling patience of William Pierce of Rhode Island.
A special thank you to Bill Klotz of Louisiana who never faltered— not once. My kitchen cabinet included Taunton Melville of Louisiana, Len Sanderson of DC, Larry Lessig of Massachusetts, Dennis Stine of Louisiana, Brian Silver of California, and Mark McKinnon of Texas.
And to the thousands of volunteers from Alaska to Florida, from Puerto Rico to California, from New Hampshire to Texas: you made the journey worthwhile, particularly since you gave so generously of your time and energy.
We ran like we would serve – Free to Lead. 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. Once again, we ran like we intended to serve. We received contributions averaging less than $50 each from thousands and thousands of Democrats, Republicans and Independents in all 50 states.
We were not included in a single one of the 23 nationally televised GOP debates, and yet received 7% of the popular vote in a national poll conducted just a few weeks ago. My team was amazing and I thank you.
America is a nation at risk. Job prospects are inadequate. Trade is neither smart nor fair. The tax code is unreadable and, I say, un-American. The budget is unsustainable. Small business must be re-vitalized. Energy has no strategy. Healthcare is not healthy. Banks are still too big to fail, and comprehensive immigration reform is a fantasy.
We can turn all these problems into opportunities, but we must begin our battle with the special interests who are content with the status quo. They don’t want change. They spend billions to keep their control. They own our political system. They bought it with their fundraisers for incumbents, and with jobs for the already powerful. They bought it with special favors and inside information for those who can return the gesture in amendments and legislation and earmarks. They finance the elections. They hire the politicians upon their retirement. And they own the two major political parties. It’s un-democratic and it’s simply un-American.
Look at the facts. 98% of the electorate does not give a penny to presidential or congressional campaigns. The money comes from Wall Street banks, corporate PACs, the labor union coffers, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, Big Oil, military defense contractors, miscellaneous PACs, Super PACs and the lobbyists. The money comes from all of these special interests, and what do they get in return? “Too big to fail” and the death of Glass-Steagall, insurance monopolies, pharmaceutical profit protection, no-bid contracts, $675 hammers for the military, earmarks, $5.1 billion in profits and pay no federal income taxes, subsidies for the wealthiest corporations, and all of the big givers first in line for any perks or favors.
The special interests give the money and they get a stacked deck in return. And what do we get? We get gridlock, corruption, a do-nothing Washington, and a Congress almost certain to be re-elected year after year.
Although there is a cry for action on many critical issues, we have to start with the issue that deals with the control of the system: campaign finance reform. If we are to become a practicing republic again, we must end the addiction to special interest money.
Reform must be the first issue.
As I am no longer a candidate for president, I am free to pledge a good portion of the rest of my life to enacting campaign reform in the halls of Congress and the corridors of the White House. Instead of using my right to the floor of Congress to lobby for corporate clients, I will lobby for the American people who want reform.
It might require a new organization to get this done, but regardless, we will highlight corruption and its effects on policy and public perception, suggest solutions, build coalitions, and support the advocates of our ideas or those who have better ones.
This struggle will not be easy. The enemies of reform are powerful and entrenched, but this is a struggle that America must win. The key is to realize that I cannot beat them alone. This will take a team effort. We must work together, setting aside inevitable differences on other issues in order to build a reform team. We must dare to look at a total reform package including contribution reform, reapportionment reform, and term-limit reform. I cannot do this alone. True and thorough reform will not occur solely as a “me” effort. This must be a “we” effort.
We must have the spirit to ask all political parties to join with us in this effort. To be successful, this endeavor must cross party lines. In truth, the two major parties are addicted to special interests and corporate money. I have said it many times: they are joined at the billfold. The two parties have been graveyards of reform too often in the past. They don’t want reform. They only want victory and reelection.
You already know this to be true. The latest national polling shows that 42% of the electorate now classify themselves as “independent,” with both major parties shrinking in size, scope, and power.
Join with us. Be unafraid. We’ll put a new organization together and will use the power of the people and new media unlike any organization has ever done with a political goal. We will ask other organizations and associations to join with us in building this team of reformers. We will re-energize our republic.
Again, thank you for standing with me. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Together, we will continue to reform our country and make America great once again. We are just getting started.
Roemer initially sought the Republican presidential nomination until earlier this year when he switched to the Reform Party. Since November, he was a candidate for the Americans Elect nomination and led the organization in supporters until it decided to not field a candidate earlier this month.