Ex-KKK leader Duke signs up to run for Senate
BATON ROUGE - Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has officially signed up to run for U.S. Senate in Louisiana.
Duke registered Friday, the final day of Louisiana's qualifying period. A registered Republican, he is seeking an open seat vacated by Republican David Vitter.
Duke's candidacy comes as Louisiana 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.
A white supremacist, Duke served one term as a state representative representing suburban New Orleans more than two decades ago. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1991 against Democrat Edwin Edwards.
Duke, a convicted felon, pleaded guilty in 2002 to bilking supporters and cheating on his taxes. He spent a year in federal prison.
Duke said Friday he has espoused principles for years that are similar to the themes Republicans are embracing now in the candidacy of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, on issues such as immigration and trade.
He says the majority of Americans "are embracing the core issues I have fought for my entire life."
In a lengthy speech, Duke said the recent slayings of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge were among the catalysts for his Senate bid. He said he wanted to expose racism against "European Americans," and said the media is biased against him because he was a Ku Klux Klan leader four decades ago.
The Republican Party of Louisiana released a statement calling Duke a "hate-filled fraud."
“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. The Party of Lincoln and Reagan is one that recognizes the inherent value of every human life, regardless of age, religion or race. David Duke’s history of hate marks a dark stain on Louisiana’s past and has no place in our current conversation. The Republican Party of Louisiana will play an active role in opposing David Duke's candidacy.”