Duke said he’s concerned about security as “Dillard [University] is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter.”
By Sheryl Estrada
Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Dukewill be on the campus of Dillard University, a private historically Black college in New Orleans, to participate in a televised Louisiana Senate race debate on November 2.
WAFB | Raycom Media paid for an exclusive poll to 625 registered voters in Louisiana asking them the candidate of their choice of nearly two dozen vying for U.S. Senator David Vitter’s seat. The six candidates who received five percent or more support in the poll will be featured on the televised debate. Duke made the cut with 5.1 percent.Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy leadsthe race with 24.2 percent, and next is Democrat Foster Campbell with 18.9 percent.
“Well David Duke, once upon a time, got 60 percent of the white vote in a U.S. Senate race in the 1990s,” political analyst Jim Engster told WAFB. “So he has some of the voters still around, and they still vote, and it appears that he’s got 5 percent that will follow him anywhere on the earth.”
DiversityInc contacted Dillard University on Monday regarding the televised debate. The university responded with a written statement, which says it was contacted by WVUE (Raycom Media’s affiliate FOX 8 in New Orleans) on September 26 regarding rental of space and it does not endorse any candidate:
“We were requested to provide a space for an undetermined number of candidates for a forum that would not be open to the public. WVUE set the criteria for participation and is the sole sponsor of this event. Under the criteria established by Raycom Media, David Duke qualified by reaching at least five percent in independent statewide polling.
“Dillard University does not endorse the candidacy or any of the candidates who will appear at this debate. As the provider of the facility, we will work with WVUE to ensure that the event is secure and managed professionally as we do with every event that occurs on our campus.”
David Duke founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1975.
According to The Acadiana Advocate Duke said, “That’s amazing” when he learned of his invitation from Raycom to participate in the debate.
However, since it will be at the historically Black college, Duke also said he has concerns about security.
“Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter, and I’ve been pretty critical of them,” he said.
Dillard University’s history goes back to 1869, responding to the post-Civil War need to educate newly freed African Americans in New Orleans. It had an affiliation with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.
The KKK was founded in 1865, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) refers to the organization as “the most infamous and oldest of American hate groups.”
Duke founded the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1975. According to theSPLC, the organization has “attempted to put a ‘kinder, gentler’ face on the Klan, courting media attention and attempting to portray itself as a modern ‘white civil rights’ organization. But beneath that veneer lurks the same bigoted rhetoric.”
Duke tweeted on Friday that at the debate he will “tell the truth nobody else dares.”
Important News! I qualified for the U.S. Senate most important debate in Louisiana on Nov 2. I can’t wait to tell truth nobody else dares!
David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) October 21, 2016
Validity of the TV Station’s Poll Questioned
At a Baton Rouge Press Club meeting on Monday, Louisiana Republican leader Jason Dore suggested Raycom’s poll has to do with TV ratings.
“I don’t know how that happened,” Dore told WAFB. “Why the only poll that [David Duke] was at 5 was the one that mattered for the Raycom debate. Certainly, it might help them with ratings.”
Stephan Handwerk with the state’s Democratic party also addressed Duke’s presence at the scheduled debate.
“What makes me nervous about this is that he’s going to be getting more attention, more attention for Louisiana that’s not good attention, more attention when we’re trying to bring home money to help repairs from these two floods,” he said.
According to Vicki Zimmerman, the regional news director for Raycom, with headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, the TV stations for years have used the five percent threshold for inclusion in debates. She said Raycom believes Mason-Dixon Polly and Research, who conducted the poll, is accurate and unbiased. Zimmerman also said she doesn’t expect Duke’s presence to cause security issues.
Duke: ‘I’d be the only person in Congress openly defending the rights and the heritage of European Americans’
The day after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination in July, Duke confirmedin a video on his website that he would run for Louisiana’s senate.
He said,”I’m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.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.
“I’m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues I’ve championed for years.”
Duke also stated, “We must stop the massive immigration and the ethnic cleansing of the people whose forefathers made America.”