Harvard students interviewed yesterday expressed relief that former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke lost in his bid for the governorship of Louisiana Saturday.
Duke, who is currently a state representative, lost to former Gov. Edwin Edwards in a run-off election by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent, despite charges of corruption which have plagued Edwards.
"It's sad that Edwards is a criminal-type guy," said Benjamin E. Tubb '92 of Metairie, La. "But he is certainly the better of two evils."
"At least Louisiana won't have a national backlash because of Duke being elected," said Barry M. Starr '93 of New Orleans.
"A lot of people are trying to find blame for problems, with race as a scapegoat," said another student from New Orleans, Jamila E. Jefferson '94.
"That's how David Duke was, and there are still a lot of other more subtle politicians like David Duke," Jefferson said.
Members of the Harvard Black Students' Association (BSA) also said they were pleased about the loss of Duke, who has been heavily involved with the white supremacy movement in the past.
"I was just really happy that a great majority of Black voters are making a strong statement against the values that Duke stood for," said BSA member York M. Eggleston '92.
Eggleston added that he thought Duke's successes stemmed from economic frustration of the working class, a trend he said was "alarming."
"I was quite confident that David Duke would never win because I understand the demographics of the area," said BSA member and Mississippi resident A. Charles Phillips '95.
"Southerners aren't stupid--they trust people who at least look half honest," Phillips said.
Although Edwards received an overwhelming majority of votes from Blacks in the state, he also captured 45 percent of the white vote, according to press accounts of the race.
Duke, who won the Republican nomination for governor despite strong condemnation from national party leaders, also drew criticism yesterday from campus Republicans.
"Duke's candidacy was an abomination to the American electoral system as well as to the Republican Party," said Republican Club President Harry J. Wilson '93.
"I hope that people will support anti-Duke coalitions and publicize his records," Wilson added.
Club Treasurer Jim L. Doak '94 said that Duke's loss was a movement in a positive direction both for American politics and the Republican Party.
Although Duke ran as a Republican, the national Republican Party has worked to disassociate itself from him.
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