Former Ku Klux Klan leader bids for senate

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has announced that he intends to run for the US senate in Louisiana.

“I’m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Mr Duke said in a video on his website.

“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 comes as Louisiana grapples with deep racial tensions after a black man was shot dead by white police officers and the killing of three law enforcement officers by a black man.

It also came a 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’.”

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

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.

Roger Villere, chair of the Republican Party of Louisiana, denounced Mr Duke’s candidacy.

“The Republican Party opposes, in the strongest possible terms, David Duke’s candidacy for any public office,” he said.

“David Duke is a convicted felon and a hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the Republican Party. ”

The white supremacist 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 rivals proudly showing bumper stickers supporting Edwards that read “Vote for the crook. It’s important.”

On his website, Mr Duke said he’d been “urged by enormous numbers of people” in his district to run.

Mr Duke is a convicted felon, pleading guilty in 2002 to bilking his supporters and cheating on his taxes. He spent a year in federal prison, but later denied any wrongdoing.


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