On Jan. 7, 1999 John Mercurio, who used to cover congressional races for Roll Call, published an article entitled “Duke aims for Livingston seat,” which currently seems to be accessible only through a Usenet copy (as a part of “Antifa Info-Bulletin,” among unrelated articles and news items).
Mercurio surveys the views of local politicians on David Duke, among them - Steve Scalise:
Another potential candidate, state Rep. Steve Scalise (R), said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.
“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”
A few things are notable here. First of all, of course, Scalise knew who Duke was (so his excuses about not recognizing the nature of Duke’s organization ring hollow). But the language he uses is also telling. The only problem with Duke for Scalise is that he is unelectable - not that he’s a neo-Nazi. And Scalise even says for whatever reason that he embraces many of Duke’s views…
Update: Roll Call has now posted the article on their blog.