Ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke to run for US Senate

Ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke to run for US Senate

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has announced he plans to run for the US Senate in Louisiana.

A registered Republican, he would be seeking an open seat vacated by David Vitter.

Mr Duke said: "I'm proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.

"I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans.

"However, what makes me different is I also demand respect for the rights and heritage of European Americans."

Mr Duke's announcement came as the state 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.

It also came one day after Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president.

Mr Duke said in the video: "I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I've championed for years.

"My slogan remains 'America first'."

Nearly two dozen candidates have signed up for the Senate race. The seat is open because Mr Vitter decided not to run for re-election on the November 8 ballot.

Mr Duke is a former state representative who represented suburban New Orleans for one term more than two decades ago and was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress.

His failed bid for governor in the 1991 race against former Governor Edwin Edwards was one of Louisiana's most high-profile elections, with Mr Duke's opponents proudly showing bumper stickers supporting Mr Edwards that read "Vote for the crook. It's important".

In a posting on his website, Mr Duke said he had been "urged by enormous numbers of people his district to run for United States Congress".

He said: "With the country coming apart at the seams and no one willing to really speak the truth about what is happening, the majority population in this country needs someone who will actually give voice to their interests in the face of an increasingly violent hatefest launched by the media and political establishment against them."

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