June 14th, 2010
07:56 PM ET
8 years ago

South Carolina Democrats spin theories about Alvin Greene

(CNN) - Among South Carolina Democrats there are a variety of theories about Alvin Greene’s mystery victory in the state’s Democratic Senate primary last week.

Charleston City Councilman Vic Rawl faced off last Tuesday against Greene, an unemployed veteran who is facing criminal charges. The Rawl campaign believes their guy should have won because, well, he had a campaign. According to Rawl spokesperson Walter Ludwig, the candidate drove 17,000 miles around the state, attended events in 20 counties and did a quarter of a million robocalls.

Compare that to Greene who was considerably more lackadaisical – about everything from campaigning to filing FEC reports. “There was a Democratic Party event in [Alvin Greene’s] hometown and he didn’t even show up for that!” says Ludwig. Monday Rawl announced he’s filed a formal protest of the election questioning the “circumstances surrounding Tuesday’s vote” and the “integrity of the election system.”

Don Fowler, the former Democratic state party chair whose wife currently heads the party, thinks voting machines were manipulated or they had serious errors. “Can I prove it no? But that’s what I think,” he tells CNN.

In Fowler’s view, South Carolina Republicans got Alvin Greene elected to tar the Democrats with some of the shame Republicans have been suffering lately. Says Fowler, it was done “to embarrass the Democratic Party and its ticket and discredit us. They [the Republicans] have been through Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson and these two idiots alleging they slept with [gubernatorial candidate] Nikki Haley. And they just want to throw a little mud on us.”

Dick Harpootlian, another former Democratic state party chair, doesn’t blame the voting machines. He believes the voters just picked the name that felt most familiar. He says “Vic Rawl did well in the city where there was an organized effort for him,” especially where preachers told their congregants to go with Rawl. Where there was no effort, he says, Rawl lost.

Harpootlian thinks Greene’s surprise victory is all in a name. “He got beat by Greene and substantially for good reasons: if one candidate is named Vic Rawl and the other one is Alvin Greene who gets the votes? There ain’t no brothers named Vic. It’s like if in Chicago there’s one candidate called Joe Lyzinski and the other Al Smith you go with the one that’s familiar.”

Still Harpootlian questions how Greene got the roughly $10,000 it took to file and run in South Carolina. For him it brings to mind the days he prosecuted election fraud in the state.

As for the beating the state Democratic Party is taking for allowing Greene to get this far, Fowler says “it’s very, very difficult to protest your party from manipulation unless there’s criminal behavior. He sounds resigned. “You want my summation of South Carolina politics?” he asks CNN and then quotes a civil war era politician James Petigru, “South Carolina is too small to be a republic too big to be an insane asylum.”

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

Filed under: 2010 • Alvin Greene • South Carolina
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. independent

    South Carolina, the State that keeps giving and giving. Late night talk show hosts head to the bank every morning after cleaning up the night before joking about SC.

    When will the people of SC see that those leading them, do so for their own purposes – usually currying favor with National GOP party bosses. South Carolinians are better than this. Throw off those blinders.

    June 14, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  2. A.B.

    Mr. Greene is a fake candidate who was put up and set up by the republicans in order to ensure Senator Demint's re-election. This is election fraud which cannot stand. This situation calls for federal and state investigation and possible prosecution of Mr. Greene and others involved in this charade. This situation is a clear example of the fact the Republican Party does not care about African Americans and is just using them to stay in power and may in fact set off a national protest by the African American community.

    June 14, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  3. William Jefferson

    The REAL story is going to be when we find out how republicons rigged the voting machines. It was one thing for them to cheat to get this fool on the ballot, but they clearly rigged the machines to make him win. they went way too far and now it is blatantly obvious that this is dirty tricks to a degree that would make nixon blush.

    June 14, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. Senator

    lolololol I'd like to see this guy debate Palin with Dan Rather as the moderator, lolololol Throw Rand Paul in for good measure

    June 14, 2010 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. JES

    Your voters voted fr the man you have nobody to blame but YOU,

    Get a grip it doesn't matter how he won he won.

    You can blame the Republicans and the Democrats but it cmes down to you voted for him and he won.

    Don't try and blame your voting machines just blame the Democrats for thinking the person they wanted to win didn't. Looks to me like you didn't do anything in your own party to see who he was until he won. Now you are balming anyone or anybody you can.

    June 14, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. john in Cal

    I for one would like to know how a complete unknown could win a primary election when He or shouldn't have had any way to even pay for it. I work 7 days a week and wouldn't be able to pay that kind of money to enter the race. We need to know if some kind of ruse or shinaniegans have been played on Americans and who was responsible. If it turns out after a complete investigation that it was all on the up and up then we can feel safe in knowing that our election system is safe from any tampering.

    June 14, 2010 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. Liz the First

    They need to look at voting records. if this was an open primary, they need to look at how many people voted in the republican primary and how many voted in the democratic one. that should tell the tale. i don't think they can vote in both. this smacks of an extreme subversion of the electoral process. how come the teabagger 'patriots' aren't screaming about this assault on our democratic process? oh, that's right, it'll help a republican get re-elected. so they're fine with it.

    June 14, 2010 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  8. constitutionalpatriot

    Haha he admitted democrat voters are uninformed and would simply vote for the name that sounds good. Not that neocons are much better, but at least they know not to throw away the Constitution and our freedoms most of the time. Demoncrats just want to elect the person with the best handout! I think this Greene fellow won because he isn't well connected and he's not an insider crook that will bend over his constituents for the corporate elite and criminal bankers. We don't want republicans and democrats in office! We want regular AMERICANS!! In november FIRE EM ALL KEEP RON PAUL!

    June 14, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. Jay T.

    This is going to be a major scandal in a state becoming legendary in scandal. Seriously. One need only know a few details of this election to realize something isn't right.

    June 14, 2010 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  10. CBR

    This whole issue is an example of how people can change party affiliation on election day. It is hard for me to believe that the people of South Carolina would vote for someone with no credentials, who is unemployed but clams to have had $10,000 available to enter the race. Does he receive unemployment? Is he receiving assistance of any kind?

    Mr. Greene needs to sit down with party leaders and explain all of this. This will not go away anytime soon and the truth needs to be told. If Mr. Greene did indeed have the money and entered the race legitimately then he deserves to be on the ballot.

    Sen. DeMint must love this. he has no competition. We will have the privilege of listening to his rhetoric another 6 years. I have not been impressed by him but then somebody must be if they went to great lengths to shut down the Democratic Party in S.C,

    June 14, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. ACox

    I'm African American and this is a "rook" if ever I've seen one. He's no more fit to serve than ole' Sarah!!! We smell a rat!!

    June 14, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  12. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Considering the track record of the deep south meddling in the election process...the answer probably is: YES

    Who knew President Nixon also had a big lead in the polls, yet his paranoia caused him to resign from office in shame. Republicans have done this kind of stuff before. The facts don't lie!

    June 14, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  13. ajax

    I think it was Don Fowler that ran the campaign for Karzai in Afghanistan when he won reelection.These dems never cease to amaze me .They don't like the results so it must have been cheating . However even though they don't have proof something illegal happened,something here is fishy. And the Republicans have to be involved even though it would benefit them in no way.

    June 14, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. Felonious Monk

    shades of 2000 all over again.
    Voting machines? Where is the paper trail to account for all votes?

    There is none!

    June 14, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  15. JR

    What Don Fowler, the former Democratic state party chair is claiming about voting machines makes more sense. Democrats can go forward with their claim and give Senator De Mint a hard time.
    However, the claim about Republicans voters crossing the line is not worthy at all.
    If a small fraction of Republican voters crossed the line and won 60% for Mr. Green over the well-known Democrat candidates, I don't see how any of those Democrats could compete in the general election with all the Republicans voting. Sen. Jim De Mint would win with more than 80%, just simple math.
    If it is not the first case, I would like to see Mr. Green compete with Senator De Mint in the general election. It would be very interesting, especially their debate.
    Senator De Mint could win the election, but I am very convinced that Mr. Green would win the debate. At least, he would be saying "no comment" whenever he doesn't have something good to say, whereas Senator De Mint would be saying unbelievable bizarre stuffs.

    June 14, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  16. natecayanan

    I think Mr. Rawl should run as an independent, so that democrats don't have to vote for this embarrassment.

    June 14, 2010 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  17. Sandra Crawford

    I live in South Carolina. I am a Democrat who voted in last Tuesday's primary. While voting, when I touched the spot to vote for Mr. Rawl, the green check mark lit up on Mr. Green's spot. I told a poll worker and he told me to just touch Mr. Rawl's spot again. I did so and the green check mark showed up on Mr. Rawl's spot. However, I wonder which candidate actually got my vote on the electronic read-out.

    I have never heard of Mr. Green and I am appalled that he might represent me in the primary election. There are many South Carolinian who care about our state and it' representation. Jim Wilson is not well thought of in most of this state.

    June 14, 2010 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. Walter

    They're all pissed off because he never paid his membership dues to the Good Ol Boys Club. Its not fair

    June 14, 2010 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  19. AFR531

    Republicans cleverly sent the message out to cross over and vote for Alvin Greene to run against Senator DeMint.

    June 14, 2010 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    Something stinks in South Carolina, and it's not those soft, warm Atlantic breezes. Sorry, neighbors, but you need to do some political house cleaning. I don't understand how such poor excuses for civil servants, like Jim DeMint, wind up in office. Maybe we're starting to get a peek, perhaps?

    June 14, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    Oops, I meant public servants. Sorry.

    June 14, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. Casan

    Serious FBI investigation is due here.

    This man is keeping to few words, and obviously sounds more scared than a half-wit runaway slave, I doubt he knows anything about the process for even filing proper documentation to run for senate office. In his interview with CNN, his sentences had gaps which suggest someone was beside him and telling him what to say.

    This is a criminal act, and I won't be suprised that he will cough up the details when pressured, that is assuming the GOP people who were behind this act will not silence him first.

    June 14, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. bb

    I think this shows great disrespect for our democratic process. They should accept the results and move forward.

    June 14, 2010 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  24. Paul

    This is what you get when dealing with establishment! I remember Lanny Davis, who even went to criticize then Senator Obama on Fox News! This Lanny Davis, was one of the people who released pictures of Obama in Africa forgetting that Clinton, Bush and al, had the same pictures not only in Africa but in Middle East... The guy won the election. Let him fight instead of fighting him. McCain has been out there for 72 years but people were tired of the same folks doing the same things over and over again. That's why I don't like this Democratic party. They are the first to trash their own and then will blame others! They were the ones who bought the tapes of Pastor Wright but didn't buy the ones from Republican pastors who preached the same thing.... They were the one who started the birth certificate thing... now they are complaining... They were the ones who brought up Islamic background (remember, former Senator Bob Kerry..was the one who started it!) now they are complaining... They were the one who questioned the health insurance for all,,, with their so-called blue dogs mentalities now they are complaining about Tea-Party... They were the ones who brought the race card...(this guy can serve us coffee, ..)

    June 14, 2010 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  25. Richard Komi

    Greene should just step down because with his own party questioning his victory the senate seat he is running for is in jeopardy of going the other way.

    June 14, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
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