Ex-KKK leader David Duke runs for Senate

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Declaring “the climate of this country has moved in my direction,” white supremacist David Duke registered Friday for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race, saying he was partially spurred by the recent shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers by a black man.

“I believe my time has come,” the former Ku Klux Klan leader said after submitting his paperwork for the ballot. He added: “The people of this country, the patriotic, decent, God-fearing people of this country, are now right with me.”

Duke’s candidacy comes one day after Donald Trump accepted the GOP nomination for president, and Duke said he’s espoused principles for years that are similar to the themes Republicans are now supporting in Trump’s campaign, on issues such as immigration and trade.

He said Americans are “embracing the core issues I have fought for my entire life.”

Duke, 66, is registered with the GOP, but Republicans at the state and federal level quickly denounced his Senate bid.

Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana, said in a statement the party “will play an active role in opposing” him, calling Duke a “hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the Republican Party.”

Ward Baker, with the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Duke will not have the support of his organization “under any circumstance.”

Trump faced criticism from some GOP leaders for failing during the primary season to immediately denounce the tacit endorsement of Duke.

Trump eventually did disavow Duke. Trump’s campaign didn’t release any statement on Duke Friday.