A former grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has garnered enough public support to qualify for a political debate at a historically black college in Louisiana.
David Duke, 66, is running for retiring Republican Sen. David Vitter’s seat in the state legislature, along with 23 others. While Duke trails well behind other candidates, he managed to scrape together 5.1 percent of the vote in a Raycom Media poll, which means he will join five others who crossed the 5 percent threshold to qualify for the Nov. 2 debate at Dillard College in New Orleans.
“That’s amazing,” Duke said when he found out about the results of the poll, the Acadiana Advocate reported. Duke acknowledged that he and Dillard students may be at odds on some issues. “Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter,” Duke said. “I’ve been pretty critical of them.”
Dillard College issued a statement Friday saying that it does not endorse Duke’s candidacy.
More than 30 Louisiana lawmakers, including two former governors and three former U.S. senators, have joined forces as the “Louisiana Coalition against Nazism and Racism” to stop Duke.
Duke has frequently said he was emboldened to run for U.S. Senate after seeing the success that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has enjoyed throughout his campaign, inspiring white nationalists with some of his rhetoric.
Duke was the grand wizard of the Knights of the KKK in the 1970s. He left the Klan in the 1980 and formed the National Association for the Advancement of White People, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a white nationalist hate group.
Duke has made many runs for political office, including for president in 1988. His only successful run was in 1989, when he was elected for a single term as an assemblyman representing Metairie, Louisiana, despite opposition from many prominent Republicans, including then-President George H. W. Bush.