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Wilson Joins Bush, Says He’d Vote for Democrat Edwards

<i> From a Times Staff Writer</i>

Republican Gov. Pete Wilson joined President Bush on Wednesday in saying he would vote for Democrat Edwin W. Edwards over former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the GOP entry in the Louisiana gubernatorial race.

Wilson told The Times that if he lived in Louisiana, he would vote for Edwards in the Nov. 16 election while “holding my nose.”

Asked what the Republican Party should do about Duke, Wilson replied: “I would say disown him, except we’ve never owned him--and don’t want to. . . . There’s no place in the Republican Party for the kind of racism or Nazi tactics that are a part of his background.”

Wilson said “I don’t think the Republican Party should lift a finger to help David Duke.” He predicted, in fact, that most GOP leaders in Louisiana will “support Edwards without enthusiasm, totally without enthusiasm, but simply as a way to ensure they don’t have Duke (as governor).”

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Duke, a former klan grand dragon, now is a member of the Louisiana Legislature and insists he no longer is a racist. But Wilson said: “You can only be so forgiving of youthful indiscretions. And I think what he’s done goes way beyond that.”

Bush previously had spoken out against Duke but until Wednesday had not said he would vote for Edwards.


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