Presidential long shot Buddy Roemer defies odds on Twitter

Last night, as presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney celebrated, Buddy Roemer was “Pounding the pavement in NH!”  The former Louisiana governor and congressman has been using Twitter to plot his unlikely surge through the Republican-candidate ranks—or at least tweet his way to social media stardom.

The witty Roemer (@BuddyRoemer) is slowly becoming the people’s champ of the Republican Party, fighting in 140 characters or less without cute daughters as campaign strategists (like Jon Huntsman) or major corporate backings. (Roemer abides by a grassroots-backing campaign that limits private funding contributions to $100.)

Judging from Twitter data, the plan’s working.

Yesterday, the day of the Iowa caucuses, Roemer’s Twitter account gained a whopping 860 followers, earned 3,493 mentions and 2,542 retweets. Roemer’s tally of 14,448 retweets over the past 30 days exceeds that of Ron Paul by nearly 3,000 and Iowa caucus victor Mitt Romney‘s by more than 7,000.

In fact, Roemer averaged 118 new followers every day between December 3 and January 3, along with 699 mentions and 515 retweets, according to 140elect.com, a consulting group hired in December to run Roemer’s Twitter campaign.

The secret to his success has been his dashing sense of humor, cut with real talk and personal interactions.

“Okay. That’s it. I’m buying a sweater vest.#itworkedforsantorum,” he posted yesterday, a remark that was retweeted more than 50 times.

Earlier today, he directly responded to Twitter user Fran Barlow. “@fran_b__ I am personally a traditionalist, but I support gay rights and believe states should have the right to legalize gay marriage.”

That online momentum, however, has not yet translated into votes. Roemer’s 49 votes in Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses accounted for significantly less than one percent of the total

“I almost have enough votes in Iowa to start a bowling league,” Roemer remarked before coining his own hashtag, “#Roementum.”

But the surge in activity generated from his witty online personality makes Roemer a dangerous spoiler option should he make it through next week’s New Hampshire primary. Need proof? Just turn to Twitter, where news that a five percent showing at the New Hampshire polls will earn Roemer a spot on ABC’s next debate.

If he gets that far, there’s no telling what Roemer will tweet next.

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.