YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Duke to Skip Early Presidential Primaries, Campaign Aides Say

December 25, 1991| From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke is pulling back from plans to enter numerous early presidential primaries and will instead focus on the Super Tuesday slate of primaries on March 10, campaign aides said Tuesday.

"We really don't want to fool too much with any states before Super Tuesday with the limited funds we have," Duke aide Nicole Berthonnaud said.

"We want to concentrate on the Super Tuesday states," she said in a telephone interview from Duke's campaign headquarters in Metairie, La.

Duke gave formal notice Tuesday that he was dropping out of the March 3 Maryland primary, Assistant Secretary of State Vonzell Ward said.

Duke campaign manager Mark Ellis indicated in a telephone conversation with Ward that "they were withdrawing from the primary because of resources," Ward said.

"We're pleased" by Duke's withdrawal, said Kevin Igoe, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.

The move "eliminated a campaign that would have been based on race and divisiveness," Igoe said.

Duke, a former Klan grand wizard and a neo-Nazi activist in college, said earlier this month that he intended to enter as many primaries as he could apart from the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary set for Feb. 18, which he said left him too little time to prepare.

Duke announced on Dec. 4 that he was challenging President Bush for the Republican nomination. His announcement came just a few weeks after he was defeated in a Louisiana gubernatorial election that gained national attention because of his candidacy.

At stake in the Maryland presidential primary, one of the earliest in the nation, are about 2% of the delegates to the Republican nominating convention, set for August, 1992, in Houston.

Duke's presidential campaign has embarrassed Bush and the Republican Party, which has disavowed him as a racist and a bigot.

States scheduled to hold primaries on Super Tuesday include Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas. The Georgia primary had also been scheduled for that day, but state officials are expected to move it up to March 3.

Among the early primaries that Berthonnaud said Duke likely would bypass are the Feb. 25 contest in South Dakota and the March 3 vote in Colorado. A decision on the Georgia primary has not yet been made, she said.

Duke had predicted that he would raise $5 million to $8 million to finance his campaign and would qualify for federal matching funds, which are campaign subsidies provided by the federal government to qualifying presidential candidates.

Los Angeles Times Articles