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Duke Planning to Challenge Bush in Several Primaries, Adviser Says

From Associated Press

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who two weeks ago lost the Louisiana governor’s race, plans to challenge President Bush in several 1992 Republican primaries, a top adviser said Saturday.

“He doesn’t count on winning the nomination or anything, but he wants to keep the issues alive and he wants to have some influence on the process,” the adviser said in a telephone interview.

Duke will concentrate on a handful of Southern states, but also is considering running in Michigan and Maryland and hopes to raise enough money to qualify for federal matching funds, the adviser said.

Duke, 41, a Louisiana state representative whose term expires this year, scheduled a Monday news conference in Washington to announce his plans. Because of that event, the Duke adviser spoke only on the condition of anonymity.

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Duke likely will have company in attacking Bush from the right. Conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan is planning to challenge Bush and is assembling a campaign organization in New Hampshire, which holds the first presidential primary on Feb. 18.

Neither Buchanan nor Duke is seen as any real threat to Bush’s nomination. But with the White House struggling over recent political missteps, slumping poll standings and a stagnant economy, the challenges could be more than a nuisance.

“We will oppose David Duke vigorously, no matter where he runs,” Republican National Committee spokesman Gary Koops said.

Duke, the former KKK grand wizard and Nazi sympathizer, borrowed heavily from the national Republican playbook in anchoring his gubernatorial campaign on worries about crime, drugs, high taxes, affirmative action and the “welfare underclass.”

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