Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke says he might go up against Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana in 2016 because he distanced himself from a 2002 event hosted by Duke's white nationalist group.
"I mean this guy is a sellout," Duke railed in an interview with radio host Jim Engster on Wednesday, according to BuzzFeed,
which posted the audio.
"He's not David. He used to say that he was David Duke, of course without the baggage, whatever that means," Duke said.
After coming under fire
earlier this month for his appearance before the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), which Duke founded, Scalise called it "a mistake I regret" and condemned the sort of views groups like EURO hold.
"I just might have to run against Steve Scalise because, you know — I really might," Duke told the radio host. "I mean, I'm definitely going to consider it because it's so disgusting to me to see ... he got elected on false pretenses."
House leadership stood by the majority whip
after the appearance was revealed, but CNN notes there had already been talk of a primary challenge
from former tea party-backed Senate candidate Rob Maness.
If both Maness and Duke challenged Scalise, Louisiana's primary system — in which the top two vote-getters head to a runoff if no candidate gets more than 50 percent — would give Scalise a better-than-even shot at re-election, CNN reports.
"The New York Times admitted that the Republican Party won office and got control of the United States House of Representatives essentially on my political issues," Duke said.
"Opposed to the massive illegal immigration, the issues of welfare reform, so many other issues that I've talked about, but the difference with someone like me, Steve Scalise, or David Vitter … is that I did not sell out. I’ve never sold out…"
Duke said a majority of the voters in Scalise's district voted for him when he ran for statewide office in Louisiana, and that by apologizing for attending the conference, Scalise is "insulting" his constituents.
"I call upon Steve Scalise to step down from his position of House of Representatives. In fact, he should resign his seat," Duke said. "I am not registered to vote right now. I have legally been able to vote for years but I haven’t registered right now and I’d be able to vote for, but I might just register" to run against Scalise.
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