Ex-Klan leader Duke drops out of presidential race

Published Apr. 23, 1992|Updated Oct. 11, 2005

David Duke halted his Republican presidential campaign Wednesday after a series of poor primary showings and said he would not wage an independent White House bid this fall.

"I have not been successful in this race for president," said the former Ku Klux Klan leader and one-time Nazi sympathizer. "My role in this presidential election is over."

Duke announced his candidacy less than five months ago at a packed news conference interrupted by several altercations. On Wednesday, his departure news conference was sparsely attended; two guards hired to protect him stood by with nothing to do.

The former Louisiana state legislator, who also has run in recent years for governor and senator, rarely broke into double digits where he was on the presidential ballot this year.

Voters unhappy with President Bush tended to support GOP challenger Patrick Buchanan, who like Duke has accused Bush of straying from conservative principles.

Bush and the national GOP have repeatedly denounced Duke and denied there was any place in the GOP for him. Duke contended Wednesday, however, that he is in the party mainstream.

"Maybe I say it a little stronger than most Republicans, a little clearer, a little tougher," he said. "But I speak the way most Republicans speak. And I think the Republican Party must have a place in it for David Duke."

Duke complained about attempts by state and national Republicans to keep him off state presidential ballots. But he said he would attend the GOP convention this summer and might even decide to endorse Bush.