Friday, June 11, 2010

The Alvin Greene Mystery

As I mentioned yesterday, Alvin Greene, the "mystery" candidate who won the Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina on Tuesday, seems to be a bit of a nut (as well as an accused felon). Indeed, the whole thing is just so very odd. As the Post is reporting:

Alvin M. Greene never gave a speech during his campaign to become this state's Democratic nominee for Senate. He didn't start a Web site or hire consultants or plant lawn signs. There's only $114 in his campaign bank account, he says, and the only check he ever wrote from it was to cover his filing fee.

Indeed, in a three-hour interview, the unemployed military veteran could not name a single specific thing he'd done to campaign. Yet more than 100,000 South Carolinians voted for him on Tuesday, handing him nearly 60 percent of the vote and a resounding victory over Vic Rawl, a former judge who has served four terms in the state legislature.

"I'm the Democratic Party nominee," Greene says in the interview at his father's home on a lonely stretch of rural highway in central South Carolina. "The people have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina. The people of South Carolina have spoken. We have to be pro-South Carolina."

Even that statement seems odd. It's like he's not quite... there.

And yet he won. But how? Perhaps it was because his name came first on the ballot, but that doesn't seem to be an adequate explanation.

Regardless of how he won, there is now speculation that he's a Republican plan. House Majority Whip James Clyburn is even calling for an investigation:

"There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary," Clyburn said during an appearance on the liberal Bill Press radio show. "I don't know if he was a Republican plant; he was someone's plant."

The third-ranking House Democrat said he found it strange that Greene, a relative unknown prior to Tuesday, was able to produce the money to register and run for Senate despite being unemployed.

Greene allegedly tried to pay the registation fee in cash, and Clyburn said he wondered whether an outside party might have funded both the fee and Greene's campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance laws. 

Carol Fowler, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, has called on Greene to withdraw from the race.

But the question remains: How did he win? He may be a plant, South Carolina Democrats may have been duped, and campaign finance laws may have been violated, but he still pulled off a stunning victory over a relatively established candidate. Are we supposed to believe not just that he was planted by scheming Republicans but that Republicans somehow manipulated the vote?

I'm all for an investigation, but it still appears to me as if South Carolina Democrats are desperately trying to undo a serious embarrassment, one that has handed the race to Republican incumbent Jim DeMint (who for his part has denied that Greene is a Republican plant). It's unlikely that any Democrat would beat DeMint, a formidable incumbent, but this whole ridiculous "mystery" just makes the party look bad.

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  • Does South Carolina still have open primaries? Maybe some Republicans voted for him.

    By Blogger Colin Day, at 4:48 PM  

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