It’s the morning after Election Day. The presidential circus is over, but control of the Senate has been thrown into the balance. One state holds the chamber’s fate in its hot little hands: Louisiana.
In Louisiana’s “jungle primary,” all Senate candidates, regardless of party, had appeared on the ballot on November 8. But because none cracked 50 percent, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will now take place on December 3.
This year, with 24 (!) candidates chasing an open seat, Democrats and Republicans alike had anticipated such a runoff. What they had not foreseen was that one of the two finalists would be Republican candidate David Duke, ex-grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Holocaust denier, and all around creep. (With such a crowded field, Duke didn’t need much more than 20 percent to place second.) More surprising still, the passel of Republican contenders split the vote, leaving Duke to face a Democrat in the runoff. Now the GOP faces an excruciating decision: Back the perennial poster boy for white supremacy or cede its Senate majority to the Democrats. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly taken to his bed with crippling panic attacks.
Okay, the likelihood of such an electoral Sophie’s choice seems remote at this point. A poll released last week put support for Duke at 13 percent. (Who are these people?) And while state politicos note that polls typically underreport his popularity, few expect him to be a serious contender. “I have a hard time believing his hidden vote is so large it becomes a major factor,” says Jeremy Alford, the publisher and editor of LaPolitics.com.