NEW ORLEANS – David Duke's appearance at a senatorial debate at Dillard University continues to make waves.
Duke, a former grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan who is one of 24 candidates running for David Vitter's Sentate seat, squeaked into the Nov. 2 debate, which is being held at the predominately black university in Gentilly.
Known for holding views advocating white supremacy and espousing anti-Semitic ideas, Duke's inclusion, which came after he polled above the five percent threshold statewide set by debate sponsor Raycom Media, has sparked controversy.
"Over the past few days, the Louisiana Senatorial Debate being held on the Dillard University campus has garnered attention locally and nationally and has spurred a wide range of emotions within the University’s student body, our alumni, and from people across America," said a statement from the university.
Dillard officials added they didn't choose the candidates for the debate.
"First and foremost, Dillard stands by its contractual obligation to host the debate. We also reiterate that the University has had no input with regard to the criteria of selection or issuing of invitations to candidates for this event," said David Grubbs, a spokesperson for Dillard.
The Louisiana GOP and Louisiana Democrat Party both criticized Duke's inclusion.
Republicans Charles Boustany, John Fleming and John Kennedy and Democrats Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard are the others who qualified for the debate.
"The University believes that this is a critical election for our state and takes its role in educating its student body seriously. Understanding the electoral process, including the elements that we may not agree with, is vital to the success of our American democracy," said Grubb.
"We have spoken with our student leadership and will continue to work with them, during election season and far beyond, in creating positive avenues to change our nation for the better."