Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke speaks to supporters at a reception, May 29, 2004, in Kenner, La.
Photo by Burt Steel/AP

David Duke, former KKK leader, qualifies for Louisiana debate

Updated
Former KKK leader David Duke has maintained a higher media presence than usual this year, with the Louisiana Republican touting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and even recording automated calls on the candidate’s behalf. The attention even prompted Duke to launch a U.S. Senate campaign in the Pelican State earlier this year.

And while Duke is not expected to seriously compete for the open Senate seat, Politico reported that he has qualified for a debate and will share the stage with the other candidates who met the polling threshold.
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has qualified for a televised debate in Louisiana’s Senate race after a new poll showed him drawing 5 percent of the vote.

Duke, a white supremacist, announced he was running late this summer, saying GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump had inspired him and drawn more followers to his cause.
It’s worth emphasizing that Duke’s candidacy has been disavowed by state and national Republican officials, and the former Klansman hasn’t mounted much of a campaign, raising very little money and organizing no real statewide operation.

Nevertheless, there was a 5% threshold for participating in the upcoming Nov. 2 debate, and a Mason-Dixon poll found the white supremacist made the cut.

And just in case this wasn’t quite outrageous enough, the Baton Rouge Advocate added that the debate will be held at Dillard University – a historically black institution in New Orleans.

Duke, who described the circumstances as “amazing,” told the Advocate that he intends to accept the invitation to participate, but he also expressed concerns about security.

As for the race itself, ordinarily open-seat contests are some of the most competitive, and with Sen. David Vitter (R) stepping down, one might expect a spirited race. Louisiana, however, remains a deep-red state, and Republicans expect to keep Vitter’s seat in the party’s hands.

According to the Mason-Dixon poll, the leading GOP candidates are, in order, state Treasurer John Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany and U.S. Rep. John Fleming. The top Democrats are Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and attorney Caroline Fayard.

Louisiana has what’s called a “jungle” primary, with all of the candidates running at the same time on the same ballot. If no candidate receives 50% of the vote on Election Day, there will be a Dec. 10 runoff featuring the top two vote-getters.



David Duke and Louisiana

David Duke, former KKK leader, qualifies for Louisiana debate

Updated