Ex-KKK wizard aims for se­nate

Repub­li­cans call Duke ‘a hate-filled fraud’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - MELINDA DES­LATTE

BA­TON ROUGE: For­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has an­nounced on his web­site he plans to run for US se­nate in Louisiana.

“I’m proud to an­nounce my can­di­dacy for the United States se­nate,” Duke said in a video posted yes­ter­day. “I be­lieve in equal rights for all and re­spect for all Amer­i­cans. How­ever, what makes me dif­fer­ent is I also de­mand re­spect for the rights and her­itage of Euro­pean Amer­i­cans.”

Duke’s an­nounce­ment came as the state is grap­pling with deep racial ten­sions after the shoot­ing death of a black man by white police of­fi­cers and the killing of three law en­force­ment of­fi­cers by a black man. It also came one day after Don­ald Trump ac­cepted the GOP nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent.

Duke said in the video: “I’m over­joyed to see Don­ald Trump and most Amer­i­cans em­brace most of the is­sues that I’ve cham­pi­oned for years. My slo­gan re­mains Amer­ica first.”

A regis­tered Repub­li­can, Duke would be seek­ing an open seat va­cated by Repub­li­can David Vit­ter.

Nearly two dozen can­di­dates have signed up for the se­nate race. The seat is open be­cause Vit­ter de­cided not to run for re-elec­tion on the Novem­ber 8 bal­lot.

Duke has not yet filed the of­fi­cial pa­per­work to run. Roger Villere, chair­man of the Repub­li­can Party of Louisiana, de­nounced Duke’s can­di­dacy in a state­ment.

“The Repub­li­can Party op­poses, in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms, David Duke’s can­di­dacy for any pub­lic of­fice. David Duke is a con­victed felon and a hate-filled fraud who does not em­body the val­ues of the Repub­li­can Party,” Villere said on Fri­day.

The white su­prem­a­cist Duke is a for­mer state rep­re­sen­ta­tive who rep­re­sented sub­ur­ban New Or­leans for one term more than two decades ago and was an un­suc­cess­ful can­di­date for congress.

His failed bid for gov­er­nor in the 1991 race against for­mer gov­er­nor Ed­win Ed­wards – who was later con­victed of cor­rup­tion – was one of Louisiana’s most high-pro­file elec­tions with Duke op­po­nents proudly show­ing bumper stickers sup­port­ing Ed­wards that read “Vote for the crook. It’s im­por­tant.”

In a post­ing on his web­site, Duke said he’d been “urged by enor­mous num­bers of peo­ple” in his district to run for congress.

“With the coun­try com­ing apart at the seams and no one will­ing to re­ally speak the truth about what is hap­pen­ing, the ma­jor­ity pop­u­la­tion in this coun­try needs some­one who will ac­tu­ally give voice to their in­ter­ests in the face of an in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent hate­fest launched by the me­dia and po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment against them,” Duke’s web­site says.

Duke is a con­victed felon, plead­ing guilty in 2002 to bilk­ing his sup­port­ers and cheat­ing on his taxes. He spent a year in fed­eral prison, but later de­nied any wrong­do­ing. – ANA-AP

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

David Duke, for­mer Repub­li­can mem­ber of the Louisiana house of rep­re­sen­ta­tives and for­mer grand wizard of the knights of the Ku Klux Klan, speaks to jour­nal­ists on a street in cen­tral Barcelona in 2007, after the sus­pen­sion of an ini­tially planned news con­fer­ence on the Span­ish ver­sion of his book Jewish Supremacy.

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