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9:36 pm - 06/09/2010
Who is Alvin Greene? Mystery S.C. nominee has pending felony charge

Alvin Greene has been on the phone all day. That's to be expected for the guy who just won South Carolina's Democratic Senate primary and is facing incumbent Republican Jim DeMint in November. But everyone calling Greene has just been trying to find out who the heck he is — and one thing reporters learned Tuesday is that a criminal complaint was sworn out against him last year for allegedly showing obscene photos to a South Carolina college student and suggesting they go to her dorm room.

Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed military veteran who lives with his parents, defeated Vic Rawl on Tuesday for the Democratic Senate nomination despite having run essentially no public campaign — no events, no signs, no debates, no website, no fundraising.

The result has baffled political observers, who had heavily favored Rawl — a former state legislator, attorney and prosecutor who had the edge inasmuch as he actually campaigned and tried to win. Many in South Carolina (which has grandly lived up to its reputation as a political circus this year) suspect that somewhere, a crafty GOP political operative is snickering.

As far as the local political press can discern, the only positive step Greene took toward campaigning was when he plunked down a $10,400 check in March to satisfy the state's filing fee and get on the ballot. He never registered a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission or filed a financial disclosure with the Senate Ethics Committee.

So why did he run, and how did he win? "I campaigned," Greene, who spoke rapidly and seemed distracted, told Yahoo! News in a brief interview. "It was a low-budget campaign. I funded it 100 percent out of my own pocket, and kept it simple — it was old-fashioned." Asked what, precisely, that campaign consisted of, and how much he spent on it, Greene demurred. "Not much. I had friends helping me."

He said he hasn't yet reached the $5,000 spending limit that triggers a requirement to file with the FEC, despite having spent that $10,400 filing fee (a pretty penny for someone with no job). Like any good politician, Greene tried to deflect questions about the particulars of his campaign to talk of "the issues."

"I graduated from the University of South Carolina," he said. "We have more unemployment than any other time in South Carolina history. Hold on, I have another beep."

Shortly after his Yahoo! News interview, the Associated Press reported that Greene was arrested in November on the obscene photo complaint. Charges are pending, and he hasn't entered a plea. One could, of course, note that such charges wouldn't necessarily hurt a candidate in a Palmetto state election season that's featured plenty of sensational sexual charges.

Greene's candidacy has raised suspicions that he may have been induced to run by Republican operatives in order to sow dissension in the Democratic ranks. It's not uncommon in South Carolina for Republicans to recruit African-American challengers to run against white frontrunners in Democratic primaries in the hope of drumming up racial tensions. (Greene is black.) The straw candidates aren't supposed to win — they're just supposed to create a racially divisive primary to damage the candidate's ability to put together a coalition in the general election.

It's nothing new to Nu Wexler, the former executive director of the South Carolina Democratic Party. "In 2004, on the last day you could file to run in the primary, we were wrapping things up when an SUV with a Bush-Cheney sticker dropped off three black guys who came in to file to run in some local races, and they all paid the filing fee with sequentially numbered cashier's checks from a local credit union," he said. In 1990, famed South Carolina political consultant Rod Shealy was convicted of violating campaign laws after recruiting a black candidate to run in a GOP primary for lieutenant governor in the hope of drawing out racist voters — a maneuver he thought would bolster support for his candidate.

Greene denies that he's a plant. But even if he is, the lack of an actual campaign seems to indicate that whatever plan he might have been a part of was quickly abandoned. Wexler says there may never have even been much of a strategy: "You have consultants doing this kind of thing just because they get bored, and they want something to tell good stories about. It's almost like fraternity pranks."

Greene's success is a testament both to the lackluster quality of the campaign run by Rawl (who raised $186,000 and ran ads) and to the, um, peculiar voting habits of South Carolinians. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler speculated to AP that Greene won because his name came before Rawl's on the ballot. Wexler says Greene is a "big name in South Carolina."

We called the South Carolina Democratic Party to ask if it intends to support Greene's candidacy, but haven't heard back. It could attempt to challenge Greene's win by claiming that he didn't pay the filing fee out of his own pocket — which, if true, would be a federal crime. "It puts them in a tough position," Wexler said. "You can't exactly start challenging the filing fees of every candidate."


South Carolina, where the political fail isn't just limited to the Republicans.
arathesane 10th-Jun-2010 02:45 am (UTC)
You know, I really appreciate SC(and AZ) because they make the politics in my state seem almost normal. Which is an amazing feat, really.
schmiss 10th-Jun-2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Speaking of FL, apparently Crist is tied with Rubio even in Rasmussen, which might have to do with the oil spill and Crist suddenly coming out against offshore drilling. days of our lives~
arathesane 10th-Jun-2010 02:55 am (UTC)
Hmm, probably. Not sure how much more of this election season I can take! There are a tremendous amount assholes running across this state. It feels like a super-saturation of them, this time around.
schmiss 10th-Jun-2010 02:56 am (UTC)
At least you'll end up sending one of them to DC by the end of the year.
arathesane 10th-Jun-2010 02:58 am (UTC)
Heh, that's a slightly positive way to look at it!;)
celtic_thistle 10th-Jun-2010 02:46 am (UTC)
The entire felony charge reeks of racist bullshit to me. However, if it's true...what the fuck.

Edited at 2010-06-10 02:48 am (UTC)
schmiss 10th-Jun-2010 02:49 am (UTC)
It's very vague. Makes you wonder what "obscene" photos were or how exactly he was showing them to her (like, just walking up to her and showing them or was she willingly looking?)

I guess if he can't be persuaded to drop out, or if he's a plant, we'll find out.
thebigbadbutch 10th-Jun-2010 02:53 am (UTC)
I agree. I don't know what these "obscene" photos were but it sounds like he was attempting to have consensual sex with an adult she wasn't into it and he didn't pursue it. Since they can't pin a rape charge on him they came up with this. What a bunch of bullshit.
fishphile 10th-Jun-2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Well, shit, I could have ran and won. S.C. is turning out to be the most interesting state to watch. AZ, quick, do something outrageous so we all look back at you.
porcelain72 10th-Jun-2010 02:51 am (UTC)
State Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler speculated to AP that Greene won because his name came before Rawl's on the ballot.

Oh my god, that just makes me want to cry. All those wasted votes.
darksumomo 10th-Jun-2010 03:02 am (UTC)
We called the South Carolina Democratic Party to ask if it intends to support Greene's candidacy, but haven't heard back. It could attempt to challenge Greene's win by claiming that he didn't pay the filing fee out of his own pocket — which, if true, would be a federal crime.
The last time I heard of anything like this happening, it was to the 1998 Alaska Independence Party (AIP) gubernatorial candidate, Sylvia Sullivan. She won the primary, but the party leadership disavowed her, refused to allow an AIP member to be on the ticket with her as Lt. Governor, and endorsed the GOP candidate instead.From the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:
Aug. 28, 1998 — The Alaskan Independence Party has abandoned its gubernatorial candidate and endorsed the Republican Party’s ticket, saying its primary winner is neither viable nor "right for Alaska."

Sylvia Sullivan, the AIP candidate, disparaged the desertion Thursday and vowed to remain in the race.

The AIP’s state committee voted late Wednesday to endorse Republican John Lindauer and running mate Jerry Ward, who won Tuesday’s primary and were on the AIP ticket briefly in 1990. They also declined to name a candidate to the party’s vacant lieutenant governor slot on the November ballot.

At first, I thought they rejected her because of her notoriously batshit behavior. I know first-hand of what I speak, as I ran into Sylvia online in 2005. She was quite the tinfoil hat wearer and ALLCAPS RANTER (her critics called her PSYLVIA PSULLIVAN). On the other hand, the AIP is a fringe party, and is hardly in a position to complain about oddball behavior.

My revised hypothesis is that Sylvia may have been too liberal for them. Check out her official page and notice all the "helping the little guy" credentials. I'm now more enamored of this idea, as the AIP is associated with the ultra-right Constitution Party, the direct descendant of George Wallace's American Independent Party.

escherichiacola 10th-Jun-2010 03:05 am (UTC)
What are you doing, SC Dems?
haruhiko 10th-Jun-2010 03:48 am (UTC)
having run essentially no public campaign — no events, no signs, no debates, no website, no fundraising.

I can't help it, I've been lmao about this all morning.
fishphile 10th-Jun-2010 03:55 am (UTC)
Not going to lie, that's why I think it's a shadow campaign. His charges would have been easily used against him in a serious campaign and not having events or a website is basically impossible in this age. You could do without debates and possibly fundraising in a really small campaign though.

I wonder how many people voted for him though cause that really concerns me that people voted for this guy not knowing ANYTHING about him.
darksumomo 10th-Jun-2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Breaking developement from the South Carolina Democratic Party!

SC Dem Chair Asks Greene to Withdraw

June 9, 2010

Today, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler asked Alvin Greene to withdraw from the race for US Senate. Greene, a resident of Manning S.C., was the apparent winner of the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in yesterday’s primary. Since the election, the Associated Press has revealed that Greene was recently charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity after showing obscene photos to a University of South Carolina student. Fowler released the following statement after her conversation with Greene:

"Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the US Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race. I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee. But this new information about Mr. Greene has would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters," said Fowler.

"We are proud to have nominated a Democratic ticket this year that, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greene, reflects South Carolina’s values. Our candidates want to give this state a new beginning without the drama and irresponsibility of the past 8 years, and the charges against Mr. Greene indicate that he cannot contribute to that new beginning. I hope he will see the wisdom of leaving the race."
partly_bouncy 10th-Jun-2010 05:35 am (UTC)
Specialness, like Illinois with our Democratic Lt. Gov. candidate. "Oh. He won. Oh shit. How did we not slam him in the campaign for assaulting his prostitute girlfriend and using steroids? Snap! How much do we have to pay him to go away and who can we pay to get on the ticket?"
bana05 10th-Jun-2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Even with all of this, he's still a better choice than DeMinted.
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