Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and current Louisiana Senate candidate David Duke will participate in a debate at the historically black Dillard University in New Orleans.
Duke qualified by polling at 5.1 percent in a Mason-Dixon survey commissioned by the media company that will carry the debate. Candidates had to draw at least 5 percent to qualify for the Nov. 2 debate.
He’ll join Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy, who led the poll with 24 percent, Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell, who had 19 percent, Democratic attorney Caroline Fayard and GOP Rep. Charles Boustany, who each got 12 percent, and Republican Rep. John Fleming, who scored 11 percent.
Under Louisiana’s election system, multiple candidates run in an open primary, with the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, facing each other in a runoff election on Dec. 2.
Despite Duke’s presence, Dillard University 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 was elected to the Louisiana House in a special election in 1989. He ran for the U.S. Senate a year later but was unsuccessful.
He qualified for Louisiana’s runoff election for governor in 1991, but lost to Democrat Edwin Edwards, who was able to overcome a reputation for corruption after numerous Republicans condemned Duke.