DERRY — Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer yesterday said he's in the New Hampshire GOP primary field to stay.
But, he said, he also will pursue the Americans Elect nomination to get his anti-corruption, political reform message heard.
"I have not been given that chance," Roemer said, protesting his exclusion from nationally televised Republican debates.
"I intend to walk on that stage sometime, somewhere, some night and talk to you," Roemer said in an interview with The Eagle-Tribune editorial board.
Americans Elect is a nonpartisan organization whose directors include former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, retired Adm. Dennis Blair who oversaw U.S. intelligence, and retired Hallmark Cards Inc. CEO Irvine Hockaday Jr.
The Washington-based group is letting voters nominate their own ticket outside the Democrat and Republican controlled system through Internet balloting.
The organization's aim is get the nominee on the ballot in all 50 states.
"We're happy to see he's interested in running," Americans Elect chief operating officer Elliot Ackerman said yesterday. "We welcome all candidates."
Roemer said he was attracted to Americans Elect because he could maintain his Republican Party membership.
Americans Elect requires presidential and vice presidential nominees be of different parties or independent.
"I'm a Republican, I'll remain a Republican," Roemer said. "I'm proud to be one."
He has served Louisiana both in Congress and as governor. He was a Democrat when elected to Congress, but led the "Boll Weevil" Democrats who aligned themselves with President Ronald Reagan.
"The reason I like Americans Elect is they will allow you to maintain your party membership," Roemer said. "I wanted to be honest and tell the public I will remain a Republican, I will be in the Jan. 10 election in New Hampshire — I love New Hampshire — I will appeal to independent-minded Republicans and independents here."
But he still wants to be on the ballot across the country.
"At the same time, I'm going to pursue what the Constitution allows me to pursue — other chances to be on the ballot in all 50 states," he said. "That is what Americans Elect does."
Roemer stressed he hasn't been anointed by the group and there is a nominating process.
"I like that. I think this is a different election. I think the most powerful party in this election is the American party of independents. I think people are concerned about the country," he said. "I think they smell the corruption and they don't see a hill's worth of difference between these candidates."
He said he admires Americans Elect's unity message that leaves the decision to the people. But he said it's a process and he will be vetting it.
"If I find in the process that it's controlled, it's manipulated, that it's not what I want it to be, I will stop that day, I will not be part of it," Roemer said.
He tossed out the name of Erskine Bowles of North Carolina as the kind of person who would make a good running mate.
Bowles was chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and later served as president of the University of North Carolina. President Obama appointed Bowles to a federal commission that looked at cost cutting and spending reforms.
Ackerman said Americans Elect will not financially back candidates. Candidates will have to follow federal election laws, he said.
"All we're doing is removing the barrier to entry," he said.
Ackerman, a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the son of financier Peter Ackerman. The elder Ackerman is financially backing the organization and is its chairman. He worked on Wall Street with Michael Milken.
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