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White Supremacist David Duke Suffers Setback in Senate Bid

December 18, 1989
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

White supremacist David Duke suffered a bruising defeat in Louisiana state Republican caucuses Dec. 9, but political observers are still not giving up on his chances of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Duke, who is trying to win the seat now held by Democrat L. Bennett Johnston, began the first official step in his candidacy very unsteadily, garnering only 27 delegates out of a total of 545 selected at GOP caucuses throughout Louisiana.

Not one of Duke’s delegates from his own district of Metairie was elected. The former imperial wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan represents Metairie in the state legislature.

There are 12 to 15 delegates available from Duke’s district to attend the Republican state convention, which will take place Jan. 13. The convention will officially endorse a Republican candidate.

“This is a major defeat for him,” said Elizabeth Rickey, a member of the Louisiana State Republican Central Committee and of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism.

However, “he’s going to run anyway, regardless of the endorsement process,” said Rickey. “This sets him back, but I wouldn’t count him out,” she emphasized.

The delegates whom Duke was able to attract come from the areas of Shreveport, in northern Louisiana; New Orleans, “which was a surprise,” said Rickey; and some from the southeast corner of the state.

He also drew delegates from the area north of New Orleans, Known as the Florida parishes, a group of counties that “are very, very conservative, long a Klan stronghold,” said Rickey.

She explained that there are still 500 or so delegates who are “automatic, and no one has an idea who they’ll support at the state Republican convention” in January.

Official delegates include any elected official in the state. Some 660 delegates to the convention are elected GOP officials, and “it is not known at this time who they will support. They have not been polled,” she explained.

Close to 1,200 delegates are expected to attend the convention.

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