Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nice felon you got there, South Carolina Dems

I don't think any Dem can beat Republican Sen. Jim DeMint this year -- he's an extremist, but this is South Carolina we're talking about -- but you think the party could have picked a better candidate than the felon-charges-facing Alvin Greene.

That's right, the unknown Greene is an "unemployed 32-year-old black Army veteran with no campaign funds, no signs, and no website" who lives with his parents and "shocked South Carolina on Tuesday night by winning the Democratic Senate primary." He's basically an enormous "mystery," and it was expected that the well-funded Vic Rawl, a former judge and state legislator, would get the nod.

So what happened? According to Mother Jones (link above):

The oddity of Greene's candidacy has already prompted speculation from local media about whether he might be a Republican plant. But Greene denies that Republicans or anyone else had approached him about running. "No, no -- no one approached me. This is my decision," he said. A 13-year military veteran, he says he had originally gotten the idea in 2008 when he was serving in Korea. "I just saw the country was in bad shape two years ago... the country was declining," he says. "I wanted to make sure we continue to go up on the right track." But when asked whether there was a specific person or circumstance that precipitated his decision to jump into politics, Greene simply replied: "nothing in particular... it's just, uh, nothing in particular." South Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler speculated that Greene won because his name appeared first on the ballot, and voters unfamiliar with both candidates chose alphabetically.

Greene has yet to speak to any Democratic officials, either. After filing to run, his campaign went dark. According to this report, he didn't show up to the South Carolina Democratic Party convention in April and didn't file any of the required paperwork for candidates with the state or Federal Election Commission. When I spoke to him, the state’s Democrats had yet to contact him after his victory was announced.

Greene insists that he's planning to work with state and national officials to ramp up his campaign and raise money "as soon as I can."

Very, very odd. And he won because he name came first on the ballot? Really? It just seems impossible that an unknown candidate like Greene could win such a prominent vote. Was the party establishment in the state really that clueless?

Well, it's not done yet. As The Hill is reporting:

Less than 24 hours after Alvin Greene's surprise win in the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary, the state party has asked him to withdraw from the race because of a pending felony charge.

"Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race," Carol Fowler, chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Greene is facing felony charges for displaying pornographic pictures to a University of South Carolina student.

Fowler said she didn’t take her decision "lightly."

"I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee," she said.

"But this new information about Mr. Greene would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters."

That's a serious charge, to be sure, but it's also a convenient one for the party, which appears to be trying to undo a serious embarrassment. 

I almost hope Greene stays in the race, if only because the party deserves the embarrassment of running, and endorsing, an accused felon who seems to be a nut. Besides, it's not like it'll matter either way. DeMint will win in a landslide. In Greene, he just gets his dream candidate, making it all the more easy for him.

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