GOP Disowns Louisiana's Duke

THE Republican National Committee (RNC) said it will seek to censure David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who won a seat in the Louisiana Legislature Saturday, saying that he is a ``charlatan'' who does not reflect GOP principles. ``David Duke is not a Republican,'' RNC chairman Lee Atwater said in a party statement. ``He's a pretender, a charlatan, and a political opportunist who is looking for any organization he can find to try to legitimize his views of racial and religious bigotry and intolerance.''

``What does it take to be a Republican, other than registering yourself as a Republican? I think [Atwater is] typical of some in the Republican leadership ... in that he doesn't really have his finger on the pulse of the people, and know what a real Republican is,'' Mr. Duke's campaign manager, Howie Farrell said. ``I think that he's way off base and needs to reassess where he stands. When the dust settles, I think he'll find that he's probably further out of the mainstream of Republicanism than is David Duke.''

In unofficial results Saturday, Duke narrowly defeated Republican John Treen to represent a state House district in Metairie, a New Orleans suburb. Duke registered with the GOP two days before qualifying to run in the House race.

RNC spokeswoman Leslie Goodman said that if Duke is officially certified the winner, Atwater will call a meeting of the party's executive committee within the next week to consider a motion of censure against Duke.

The motion proposes that the Republican Party ``reject and condemn David Duke, his beliefs, and the hate and fear he promotes, and reaffirm its commitment to equal opportunity for all regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, or national origin.''

It also would preclude Duke from receiving any type of aid from the Republican Party. Such an action would be unprecedented within the party, Ms. Goodman said. ``I would not imagine that there would be a single person [on the Republican National Committee executive committee] who would disagree with this.''

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