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Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer to Announce Longshot Presidential Bid

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- Newt Gingrich has company. Turns out the former House Speaker is not the only one who will be dipping his toe into presidential waters on Thursday. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer plans to announce a presidential exploratory committee at a news conference in Baton Rouge.

Roemer served as governor of Louisiana from 1988 to 1992, and before that, as a member of Congress from the state’s 4th Congressional district from 1981 to 1988.

He was a Democrat for most of his political career before switching to the Republican Party in 1991. He lost the GOP gubernatorial primary that year to former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. Roemer currently serves as president of Baton Rouge’s Business First Bank, where Thursday’s event will take place.

Roemer’s news conference, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., will coincide with Gingrich’s expected announcement in Atlanta that he will begin what aides call an “explore phase” of a presidential campaign. Such a move will allow Gingrich to prepare for a presidential run, but it is legally different from an exploratory committee.

It’s unclear exactly what assets he brings to the table or what role he might play in the GOP primary, but with many of the other big-name Republicans still on the sidelines, lesser-known candidates like Roemer are taking advantage of the vacuum to soak up some media attention.

The Harvard-educated Louisiana native tried and failed to launch a political comeback in 1995 with another gubernatorial run and flirted with a Senate bid in 2004, but eventually declined to enter the race. Roemer, 68, underwent serious heart surgery in 2005.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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