Duke 1992 Chairman Removed From Buchanan Campaign
Feb. 23, 1996
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A man with ties to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke confirmed today he has been removed from Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign.
William Carter was state chairman for Duke's 1992 presidential campaign in South Carolina, which holds this year's Republican primary on March 2.
Carter said he was told earlier this week by Dan Griffith, state director of Buchanan's campaign, that the campaign was removing him from its steering committee after being questioned about his ties to Duke. Griffith did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Buchanan reacted quickly when asked about Carter, telling reporters in Arizona: ``We don't want anybody in our campaign who's associated with any organization today that is racist or has any ties to these groups which I find deeply offensive.''
Buchanan, citing his GOP primary victories over Duke in 1992, said, ``I eliminated David Duke as a serious national figure in the Republican Party. I'm proud of having done so and I'm not going to go back and check the resume of everyone who happens to wander into my campaign.''
Duke said he understands why Buchanan can't support him and believes that liberal journalists are out to ruin Buchanan's chances.
``I support Pat Buchanan though he doesn't support my racial positions,'' Duke said today in a telephone interview. ``He can't support me because the northeastern media establishment is on a feeding frenzy. They are out to get him. I don't expect his support.''
Carter was angry about his dismissal.
``It's not printable in a family newspaper what I told them,'' Carter said. ``I'm upset about it, particularly when I didn't ask to be on the steering committee. I feel like I have been publicly embarrassed.''
Carter is chairman of the South Carolina Council of Conservative Citizens, a group he describes as ``slightly to the right of Buchanan.'' The group is best known in South Carolina for organizing rallies in support of flying the Confederate flag atop the Statehouse.
Buchanan supports the flag's presence on the state capitol building.
Also today, the New York Times reported that three of Buchanan's Louisiana delegates have ties to Duke.
Vincent Bruno of Kenner, La., an adviser from Duke's 1991 campaign for Louisiana governor, was elected as a Buchanan delegate to the Republican National Convention during Louisiana's GOP presidential caucus Feb. 6.
Bruno and Duke described Bruno as a minor figure in the former Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard's 1991 bid for governor.
``I sort of acted like a liaison with the religious right,'' said Bruno, 49. ``Mr. Duke, at the time I supported him, stated he wasn't opposed to black people, he wasn't opposed to Jewish people. I took him at his word.''
In an interview Thursday, after announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, Duke said Bruno was not a close adviser. ``Vince is a good man, but he was just a volunteer with no official role,'' he said.
Buchanan's Louisiana campaign director, Sandy McDade of Shreveport, said Thursday she didn't know about Bruno's connection with Duke.
``I don't see it as a contradiction. I see it as something none of us were aware of,'' McDade said. ``This is a first for me.''
McDade said Buchanan's slate of official delegates was not subjected to a background check, but she added, ``I said repeatedly I wanted no ties with David Duke.''
Buchanan's campaign has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after one of his four national co-chairman, Larry Pratt, stepped aside because of his alleged ties to racist and militia groups. Buchanan has defended Pratt, saying he should have a chance to clear his name of unfair charges.
Sandy Lamb, chairwoman of Buchanan's campaign in a Florida county, also was let go after it was discovered that she also was an official of the National Association for the Advancement of White People.
Buchanan, who won the New Hampshire primary to become a front-runner in the GOP presidential contest, has disavowed any ties to Duke and said he can't control who supports his insurgent campaign.
At a Jan. 16 Buchanan campaign rally at a Metairie, La., hotel, Duke said he was endorsing Buchanan. Afterward, in the parking lot, when Duke tried to welcome Buchanan, he got the cold shoulder. Buchanan brushed past him and later remarked, ``He supports me. I don't support him.''