I, as well as countless others, are reminded of Mr. Russert’s historic interview with David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Republican candidate for Louisiana governor less than twenty years ago (only four subsequent cycles).

As you may recall, Russert stumped Duke when he asked him to name the top three employers in the State of Louisiana, only after Mr. Duke had insisted that his campaign was about the Louisiana “economy.”

In preparing for this post, I discovered that Mr. Duke has actually issued his own statement on Tim Russert’s death, asserting that the media’s interpretation of Russert’s interview is inaccurate and that Duke had somehow won the debate. Google it on your own volition. I have no desire to link to Mr. Duke.

I cannot help but also be reminded that Mr. Duke represents the not-so-distant past of the Louisiana Republican Party, garnering nearly 39% of the vote in the general. (By the way, Bill Clinton won Louisiana the following year). To be fair, even though he secured the front-runner status for the party, which officially repudiated him, no one dared to endorse him, except, of course, for former Alexandria Mayor John Snyder.

Until someone can locate the video of the Russert interview, I leave you with David Duke, Republican candidate for Louisiana governor, in his own words on the Phil Donahue Show in 1992.


Wikipedia offers a concise history of Mr. Duke’s candidacies:

Challenging Edwin Edwards and Buddy Roemer

Despite getting an official reproval by the Republican Party, Duke ran for Louisiana Governor in 1991. In the open primary, Duke was second to former governor Edwin Washington Edwards in votes; thus, he faced Edwards in a runoff. In the initial round, Duke received 32 percent of the vote. Incumbent Republican Buddy Roemer came in third with 27 percent of the vote. Duke effectively killed Roemer’s bid for re-election. While Duke had a sizable core constituency of devoted supporters, many voted for him as a “protest vote” to register dissatisfaction with Louisiana’s establishment politicians. Duke said he was the spokesman for the “White majority.”[25] He took a strong anti-establishment stance reminiscent of George Wallace, in the 1968 presidential campaign.

Between the primary and the runoff, called the “general election” under Louisiana election rules (in which all candidates run on one ballot, regardless of party), white supremacist organizations from around the country contributed to his campaign fund.[26][27]

Duke’s success garnered national media attention. While Duke gained the backing of the quixotic former Alexandria Mayor John K. Snyder, he won few serious endorsements in Louisiana. Celebrities and organizations donated thousands to Edwards’ campaign. Referencing Edwards’ long-standing problem with accusations of corruption, popular bumper stickers read, “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important,” and “Vote for the Lizard, not the Wizard.” When a reporter asked Edwards what he needed to do to triumph over Duke, Edwards replied with a smile, “Stay alive.”

Edwards received 1,057,031 votes (61.2 percent). Duke’s 671,009 votes represented 38.8 percent of the total. Duke claimed victory, saying, “I won my constituency. I won 55 percent of the white vote,” which he had, as exit polls confirmed.[13] In actuality, Duke had done little better in percent terms than the first major Republican gubernatorial candidate in modern Louisiana history, Charlton Lyons, had done in 1964.

Challenging Mary Landrieu

When Johnston announced his retirement in 1996, Duke ran again for the U.S. Senate. He polled 141,489 votes (11.5 percent). Republican former state representative Woody Jenkins of Baton Rouge and Democrat Mary Landrieu of New Orleans, the former state treasurer, went into the general election contest. Duke was fourth in the nine-person, jungle primary race.[28]

Mr. Duke’s supporter(s) has/have been known to comment on this blog in the past.

Bring it on.  

4 thoughts

  1. I don’t know, Donahue sure had trouble tryin’ to outwit Mr. Wizard. Minus the racial qualities about wizard, he seems like a normal conservative (in so many words).

  2. Actually, Duke slapped Russert around intellectually, not because Russert is dumb, only because Duke’s arguments are rooted in stronger truth.

    He asked Russert why we hear nothing about the biggest genocide in history where 7-10 million Ukrainian’s were murdered? It’s called the holodomor. Why don’t we see endless movies about it and references to it?

    You think Russert is going to say, “Well, Ukrainian’s don’t control the media, jews do?” Of course not….so Russert tried to change the subject IMMEDIATELY.

  3. As my friends can see, there are still some Duke defenders left in this Great State. Although they represent the extreme fringe, they are still quite vocal about their beliefs.

  4. Good post Lamar, I vaguely remember that election growing up in Alexandria (my parents decided not to vote). Looking back it is very shocking and sad, I can’t imagine how black people in the state must have felt with all this going on. The symbolic effect of having a KKK member on a statewide ticket is atrocious and in a way legitimized a mindset that ought to be seen as what it is, a shameful and pathetic fringe group. The fact that there are people in the state defending him to this day is absurd, get a life.
    -Paul Davidson

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