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Black Candidate Surprises Experts

Mon., Oct. 23, 1995

Just four years after former Klan leader David Duke galvanized Louisiana with a close run for governor, people woke up Sunday to a new political day - a runoff that includes a candidate seeking to become the state’s first black chief executive since Reconstruction.

Experts gave U.S. Rep. Cleo Fields virtually no chance of winning the governor’s mansion when he faces state Sen. Mike Foster on Nov. 18. But Fields surprised them Saturday when he came in second to Foster in an open primary field of 16, including a former governor, the lieutenant governor and the state treasurer.

Foster came from back of the pack himself, knocking out former Gov. Buddy Roemer, the other conservative Republican, who had led in all the polls until the final week. Roemer had been expected to be a shoo-in for the runoff.

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