Politics & Government

David Duke to debate at historically black college

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke talks to the media at the Louisiana Secretary of State's office in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday, July 22, 2016, after registering to run for the U.S. Senate, saying "the climate of this country has moved in my direction."
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke talks to the media at the Louisiana Secretary of State's office in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday, July 22, 2016, after registering to run for the U.S. Senate, saying "the climate of this country has moved in my direction." AP File

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and current Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke will participate in a debate at historically black Dillard University.

Duke qualified by getting 5.1 percent in a poll commissioned by the media company that will carry the debate statewide. Candidates had to draw at least 5 percent to qualify for the Nov. 2 debate.

He'll join Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy, who got 24 percent in the poll, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who had 19 percent, Democratic attorney Caroline Fayard and Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, who each got 12 percent, and Republican Rep. John Fleming, who finished with 11 percent.

In Louisiana’s election system, multiple candidates from the same party can run, with the top two candidates facing each other in a runoff election on Dec. 2.

Despite Duke’s presence, Dillard said it was obligated to hold the event. But Joseph Caldwell, the college’s student government association vice president, said there were plans to speak out about the debate.

“David Duke is unacceptable and he’s not welcome here,” he said.

Duke won Louisiana’s runoff election for governor in 1991 and lost against Democrat Edwin Edwards, who overcame his reputation for corruption after numerous Republicans condemned Duke.

He was elected to the Louisiana House in a special election before an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate.

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