Washington (CNN) - Alvin Greene, the 32-year-old unemployed South Carolina Democrat who surprised party leaders by easily winning Tuesday’s Senate primary, vowed in an interview with CNN to remain in the race despite facing charges of “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.”
“The voters of South Carolina have spoken, we have to remember that,” Greene said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his home in Manning, South Carolina. “They have chosen me as their Democratic Party nominee and we have to be pro-South Carolina rather than anti-Greene.”
South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler issued a statement Wednesday calling on Greene to relinquish the nomination and noted that she had personally made the request to him.
“Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race,” said Fowler, who cited an Associated Press report about Greene’s prior arrest. “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 … would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters.
"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."
South Carolina Democrats chose Greene Tuesday to challenge Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in November. DeMint is strongly favored to win a second term.
Public records from the Richland County Fifth Judicial Circuit show that Greene was arrested on November 12, 2009, and charged with “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.” A spokesman for the Richland County Solicitor was not able to provide CNN Wednesday with any further information about why Greene faced these charges.
Greene repeatedly rebuffed attempts in the interview with CNN to explain the arrest.
“I have no comment on that,” he said. “I don’t want distractions. I just have no comment about that.”
But Greene was more than willing to talk about his Senate campaign. As for running, the Democrat nominee said he had been “thinking about it for about two years.”
State Democratic Party officials said that Greene paid the $10,440 filing fee in March 2010, but he had never campaigned for the nomination.
On Tuesday, the politically-unknown Greene handily defeated former state Rep. Vic Rawl by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin to win the Democratic Senate nomination. Greene, in the interview with CNN, disputed the notion that he had not campaigned for the seat. But he did acknowledge that he ran a “low budget” Senate bid.
“I funded my campaign entirely out of my pocket,” said Greene. “I am self-managed and self-funded out of my personal money, everything up to this point.”
Greene described himself as a former member of the armed forces serving stints in the U.S. Air Force, South Carolina Air National Guard, U.S. Army and the South Carolina Army National Guard. Greene said he was discharged from the Army nine months ago and now lived at home with his father.
Greene said that his main campaign issues were “jobs, education and justice and better education for our children.”
He also noted that he would like to see Korea be governed “under a single democracy” similar to how East and West Germany were united after being divided during the Cold War. Greene said that when he was serving in the Army he was stationed in South Korea from June 2007 until June 2008. But he noted that “My domestic issues are the priority, this is what we have to take care of first.”
As for his next step, Greene said, “I am not sure.” He waited a moment and then ended the call. “But I have to go, I am very busy. I have been on the phone all day. The phone won’t stop ringing.”