David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, said he plans to mount a run for a U.S. Senate seat from Louisiana
Duke said he had been called to run by “enormous numbers of people in his district” in a YouTube video posted to his site. Announcing his candidacy, Duke declared that “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”:
Duke served a single term as a Louisiana state representative and ran for president as a Democrat in 1988 and as a Republican in 1992. He pled guilty to a felony in 2002 for trying to cheat his supporters out of money and lying about his taxes and spent a year in prison as a result. His plea disqualified him from running for public office.
Duke, running as a Republican, would face a number of candidates for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. David Vitter.
Other Republicans, such as the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, denounced Duke’s planned run:
We will not support David Duke. Several GOP candidates in LA will have a great impact on our country. He is not one of them. #LASEN
— Ward Baker (@WardBaker) July 22, 2016
The state Republican party asserted they would “actively oppose his candidacy” in a tweet calling Duke a “hate-filled fraud”:
— L A G O P (@lagop) July 22, 2016
Duke has called for campaign finance reform and anti-trust laws to break up media companies, tweeting that he was pleased by Trump’s speech accepting the Republican party’s nomination and “overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years.”