D’James Rogers, who placed second in the July 12 District 54 special election to represent Crittenden County, said today that he would have joined the Democratic caucus if elected.
Rogers ran as an independent because he wanted an African-American to represent the majority-minority district rather than the eventual winner, newly sworn in Rep. Hudson Hallum (D-Marion). Hallum, who is caucasian, had defeated two African-Americans in the Democratic primary.
Hallum won the July 12 special election held after Rep. Fred Smith (D-Crawfordsville) resigned following a felony conviction.
According to unofficial returns, Hallum received 987 votes, while Rogers received 437. Republican John Greelan received 415 votes.
Rogers said that, if he had won, he would have governed as a Democrat. He has been actively working with Democrats since 2000 and was the regional field director for last year’s coordinated campaign.
Rogers said that running as an independent was difficult in a district dominated by Democrats. Naturally, he received no help from the Democratic Party and struggled to raise money. “I didn’t get any support from them,” he said. “It was like, ‘We’ll talk to you once the election is over with.’”
He campaigned with the help of family and friends and used social media to communicate his message. He said African-American leaders in the district did support him.
He said he would run again some time in the future and would do so as a Democrat.