UPDATE — 7/23, 11:17 a.m. EDT: Former Louisiana state congressman and Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, announced at a press conference Friday in Baton Rouge that he has filed paperwork to be placed on the November ballot in a bid for outgoing Republican David Vitter’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
Louisiana employs a unique election process where candidates from all parties run together in the general election, without primaries. If one candidate does not secure over 50 percent of the vote, the two top vote-getters run against each other in a special election, typically a month later.
Duke is particularly controversial candidate who campaigns on racial politics and appeals to the “white identity” movement. In 2016, the former KKK Grand Wizard is apparently inspired by the successful candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
“I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I’ve championed for years,” Duke said in his Senate announcement video.
Executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Ward Baker, has promised the public that Duke will not be receiving financial or rhetorical support from his organization.
Former Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Grand Wizard, Holocaust denier, white supremacist and sometime politician David Duke is reportedly weighing a run for Louisiana’s First Congressional District in the Republican primary.
Referring to Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the third-ranking GOP member of the House and current House Majority Whip, as “sellout Steve Scalise”, the former founder of the Louisiana chapter of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan told the Daily Beast he is inspired to set in motion a campaign for the House over last week’s assassination of five police officers in Dallas, Texas.
“I’ve very seriously set up an exploratory committee to run for the United States Congress against Steve Scalise. I expect to make a decision in a few days,” Duke said.
After leaving the KKK in 1980 over differences with the group, Duke mounted political campaigns for the Louisiana State Senate in 1975, ran for president in 1988 and 1992, attempted bids for the U.S. Senate in 1990 and 1996, and steered separate campaigns for the U.S. House in 1999 and the governorship of Louisiana in 1991.
Despite losses in each campaign, Duke did manage a solitary electoral victory in a 1989 special election for Louisiana’s 81st district, narrowly defeating Republican John Treen.
Duke has been repudiated by both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Duke faces a July 22 deadline to file paperwork declaring his intent to run in the primary.
[The Daily Beast] [Reuters]