(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.