Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who won 44 percent of the vote in a recent run for Congress, announced Wednesday he was entering the Louisiana governor's race.

Duke, a Republican state representative, said he was not worried about Gov. Buddy Roemer's switch this week to the Republican Party.Duke said his strong showing against Democratic U.S. Sen. J. Bennett Johnston in October would boost his chances of becoming governor.

"I got 100,000 more votes than Buddy Roemer did when he ran for governor. I'm hitting the ground running in this campaign," he said. "When I started the previous campaign, we started from nothing. We've got a great chance to win."

If he qualifies in September for the governor's race, Duke will be barred from seeking re-election to his Louisiana House seat, which represents the nearly all-white district of Metairie.

Duke has been shunned by GOP leaders for his past activities with the Klan, which included being an imperial wizard.

Duke told reporters he would get a surprising amount of black support.

"Black people work, they pay taxes, they're tired to the government taking their tax money."