David Duke Qualifies For Senate Debate At Historically Black University

Gerald Herbert

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke has qualified to participate in the upcoming U.S. Senate debate at Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans.

Duke met the 5 percent polling threshold set by Raycom Media, who is broadcasting the debate on Nov. 2, and will appear on stage alongside five other candidates, according to Politico. Louisiana holds an all-party primary on Election Day, and the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation square off in a Dec. 10 runoff.

Duke celebrated his spot in the debate on Twitter:

He also expressed concerns to The Advocate about the debate's venue. “Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter, and I’ve been pretty critical of them," Duke said.

Duke was elected to the Louisiana House in 1989 and served a single term. He has run unsuccessfully for public office several times since, perhaps most notably when he made the runoff against Edwin Edwards in the 1991 governor's race. He served federal prison time in the early 2000s for tax fraud.

He has said Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy inspired him to throw his hat in the ring again.

“European-Americans need at least one man in the United States Senate—one man in the Congress—who will defend their rights and heritage,” Duke said in a video announcing his candidacy in July, noting he used the “America First” slogan long before Donald Trump adopted it for his presidential campaign.

Donald Trump was heavily criticized during the Republican primary for refusing at first to disavow Duke’s support in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Trump told Tapper he “knew nothing about” David Duke or other white supremacists after Tapper asked if he would “unequivocally condemn" their support.

However, in 1991, according to FackCheck.org, Trump said George H.W. Bush was right “to come out against” Duke's gubernatorial campaign. In 2000, Trump ditched his chance to run for the presidential nomination of the Reform Party, because he did not want to be associated with Duke and Pat Buchanan, who were members of the party. Trump called Duke “a bigot, a racist, a problem” at the time.

Trump later blamed his failure to disavow Duke in his interview with Tapper on CNN’s audio equipment, after formally disavowing Duke during a press conference.

Raycom Media commissioned their poll from Mason-Dixon, who polled 625 registered voters from Oct. 17-19. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

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