No matter how hard Louisiana tries, it just cannot shake
entanglements with David Duke.
would call it a noose.
Duke is back gaining a lot of press as a candidate for U. S. Senator, as 24
candidates vie for the distinction of replacing retiring incumbent David
Duke has been a controversial
and perennial candidate for years. So is he a has-been, or does he have any
shot of representing the Bayou State in Washington?
With so many candidates in the running, it’s possible that
less than 20% of the votes cast could get an aspirant in the run-off.
Back in the 1972 gubernatorial election,
future U. S. Senator Bennett Johnson made the run off with only 17% of the vote,
and at that time, only 17 candidates were running.
Duke is currently close to that number in
several recent polls.
In a University of
New Orleans poll, Duke was running at 15% among Republicans and as high as 25%
in figures released by Democratic candidate Foster Campbell.
Duke no doubt is helped by rhetoric coming from the Trump
presidential campaign, that espouses disaffection with the federal government,
as well as anti-immigrant and anti-free trade issues.
“We want our country back” will be the mantra
of the Duke pomposity in the weeks to come.
So don’t sell Duke short.
have a following. Some 14,000 followers on Twitter. Treasurer John Kennedy, who
currently leads the race in most polls, has 3,487 followers, with Congressman
Charles Boustany showing 1,178. This is one small indication, but Duke does
pique a great deal of interest. Much of it negative, but a surprising amount of
I observed the Duke phenomenon up close back in 1991, when I
was a candidate for the post of Insurance Commissioner.
Duke was the challenger to incumbent Governor
Buddy Roemer in a crowded field of 15 candidates that included former Governor
Roemer had defeated Edwards
in the 1987 gubernatorial election, and Edwards was trying to turn the tables
on his nemesis that bounced him from office. David Duke was an afterthought
until the final weeks of the campaign when he shot ahead of Roemer to make the
runoff. Then the fireworks began.
Louisiana became the focus of attention across the nation. Reporters
worldwide flocked to the Bayou State to cover what they considered to be a
bizarre election. Both candidates had high unfavorable ratings. Sixty percent
disapproved of Edwards, while 66% had a low rating of Duke. Could it be
possible that the next governor might be the former head of the Ku Klux
Duke told voters he no longer was
anti-Semitic, had renounced racism, and was a born again Christian. A large
number of white voters bought in.
I watched a part of the saga unfold one evening in Breaux
Bridge, Louisiana, at Crawfish Town, a popular local restaurant.
I was there with my family and friends, when
Edwards walked in.
He worked the crowd
and called many by name.
This was his
Then, the door opened and in
walked Duke with a large entourage.
all three were on the ballot, and exchanged pleasantries in the middle of the
restaurant with every eye in the place watching.
Each candidate went to different tables, and
then the receiving lines began.
As Duke and Edwards sat eating crawfish, many of the diners
made their way to the tables of both candidates to share a few words.
Particularly in the case of Duke, a large number of folks visited for a bit,
then handed over to him tens, twenties, and a large number of hundred dollars bills.
There were loud cheers when he got up to leave the restaurant.
Duke ended up loosing the election to
Edwards, but he was able to garner 55% of white voters.
Yes, that was back then.
Most political observers feel there is no way David Duke could emerge
and make the runoff for senator.
these same pundits said the same thing about Donald Trump getting the
When you say that
anything can happen, sometimes it does. After all, there’s a long campaign
ahead before November 8th
Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout
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and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownusa.com. You can also hear Jim’s
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