- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Latest on the U.S. Senate debate between 6 candidates, including former KKK leader David Duke (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

After the U.S. Senate debate on the campus of historically black Dillard University, about two dozen protesters linked arms at a traffic gate hoping to block white supremacist David Duke’s exit.

One police SUV got through after officers physically shoved protesters out of the way but it was unclear if Duke was in that vehicle.

More protesters joined and locked arms again at the gate and several police units that were heading to that exit, backed up and turned away.

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8:15 p.m.

The last debate of Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race has ended, with the presence of white supremacist David Duke hijacking much of the discussion on the stage.

Six candidates participated Wednesday, but the focus was on the former Ku Klux Klan leader even though he’s lagged in the polls.

Democratic lawyer Caroline Fayard called Duke a “snake.” Republican Treasurer John Kennedy called Duke a liar. Republican U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming largely tried to ignore Duke as they sought to distinguish themselves from the major competitors.

Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said Fayard has been lying about him as she tried to connect him to Duke. Campbell said he has nothing in common with Duke except both men were “breathing.”

Duke trashed the debate questions and the moderators.

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7:50 p.m.

White supremacist David Duke clashed with his opponents and a TV moderator in the last debate in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race ahead of next week’s election.

The former Ku Klux Klan leader suggested his fellow Republican and the race’s front-runner, state Treasurer John Kennedy, tried to raise taxes on homeowners and that all five of his competitors on the stage were “beholden to big money.”

Kennedy replied by calling Duke a “convicted liar” and cited Duke’s prison number for a felony conviction.

Though he pleaded guilty to cheating on his taxes, Duke claimed he was “targeted by the government.” When the debate moderator tried to interrupt Duke, Duke started yelling that he was a “typical media hack.”

As the debate continued, protesters outside the building shouted, objecting to Duke’s appearance on the stage.

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7:10 p.m.

As candidates for the U.S. Senate, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, began a debate at historically black Dillard University, a tight knot of people around one entrance to the auditorium suddenly scattered, some yelling that they had been “maced” or pepper sprayed.

That outburst was quickly followed by several protesters attempting to force their way in through an open door. They were fought back by police.

Some protesters tried to tug others away as the confrontation became more physical. Police eventually were able to shut the door.

There were no apparent injuries. Some protesters were seen using bottled water to flush their eyes.

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6 p.m.

Several dozen protesters gathered on a New Orleans college campus and marched around an auditorium where former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was scheduled to participate in a debate with other candidates for a U.S. Senate seat.

The debate was taking place Wednesday night at Dillard University, a historically black university. About 60 to 70 protesters carried signs and chanted “No Duke. No K-K-K, no fascist USA” and other sayings critical of Duke and of his being allowed to participate in the debate. The group then gathered at a doorway, chanting “Let us in, Let us in!” after they were refused entry into the auditorium.

Because he received 5 percent support in one media poll, Duke was included among six candidates taking part in the debate.

More than two dozen people are seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

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5:25 a.m.

The top six candidates running for Louisiana’s soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat are meeting for their last debate ahead of next week’s election, at Dillard University in New Orleans.

But Wednesday’s televised debate is drawing attention mainly for the sixth contender who will be on stage at the historically black university: white supremacist David Duke.

Duke narrowly reached the 5 percent polling benchmark set by Raycom Media for participation in the debate, to be broadcast across most of Louisiana.

The former Ku Klux Klan leader has lagged in independent polling and isn’t expected to reach the December runoff.

Major contenders in the Senate race are three Republicans, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, U.S. Rep. John Fleming and Treasurer John Kennedy; and two Democrats, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and lawyer Caroline Fayard.

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