Was Alvin Greene's Surprise SC Win Legitimate?

His primary challenger suspects foul play

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Alvin Greene, the unemployed accused felon with no experience in politics, surprised everyone when he won South Carolina's Democratic nomination to run for the Senate against Republican Jim DeMint. (DeMint currently leads 58 to 21 percent in polls.) Greene's win was so unusual that he has been met with conspiracy theories and allegations of foul play, even from within his party. Did he win the nomination fair and square, or was there something else going on?

  • Greene's Primary Opponent Files Complaint  The former judge and Democratic politician Vic Rawl isn't happy. Leading South Carolina newspaper The State reports, "The executive committee of the S.C. Democratic Party will meet Thursday to consider a protest Vic Rawl filed Monday after his surprise thrashing ... The executive committee could order a taxpayer-funded new primary, agree with the S.C. Election Commission’s certification of the results or find that voting or vote-counting problems were so significant that Rawl should be declared the winner."
  • Republican Plant?  Citing the $10,400 filing fee, which Greene seemed to find despite having no job, The Guardian's Michael Tomasky wonders, "The suspicion is afoot that Greene's candidacy was a GOP plant. Apparently there's historical precedent." Tomasky cites past such incidents. "And remember, this is the home state of Lee Atwater and the state where rumors that he'd fathered a black child helped do in John McCain."
  • S.C. Dems Allege Plant, Call For Investigation  The Washington Post's Garance Franke-Ruta reports, "House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) articulated the suspicion of many South Carolina Democrats this morning by suggesting that the state's Democratic U.S. Senate primary victor Alvin Greene was a 'plant.' ... Clyburn also said the U.S. attorney's office in South Carolina should investigate Greene's win."
  • ...This Is Not The GOP's Fault  The Daily Show's Jon Stewart dismisses the Democratic excuse-making. He jokes, "This is the political equivalent of running yourself a warm bath, falling asleep next to it with your hand in the tub, wetting yourself, and then blaming the Republicans."
  • His Name Swayed Indifferent Voters  Stewart cites a South Carolina politician who suggests that Greene won because his name was first on the ballot. Conservative blogger Allahpundit shares the theory that voters, ignorant to the two candidates and indifferent to who won, picked Greene for trivial reasons. One surveyed SC voter says it's because the name reminded her of singer Al Green. "It’s as good a theory as any other. ... is Al Green so well known to the public that it’s remotely plausible Alvin Greene could have gotten 59 percent on the strength of his name recognition?"
  • There Is No Simple Explanation for Greene's Win  The Washington Post's Manuel Roig-Franzia pens a magazine-length article where he explores, and then knocks down, every single theory for Greene's victory. Roig-Franzia is equally dismissive of theories alleging foul play as he is of those citing legal reasons for Greene's win. He concludes that there really is, at this point, no simple answer.
  • This Stuff Does Happen  The Washington Post's David Weigel sighs, "the best explanation for Greene's win remains the easy one -- Democrats who didn't care about the race marked the first and (marginally) more familiar name on the ballot. How often does this happen? It happened one month ago in Indiana."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.