June 13th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Clyburn: 'Elephant dung' all over S.C. Dem primaries


"I saw the patterns in this,' House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said Sunday of his state's recent Democratic primaries. (Photo Credit: CNN)

(CNN) – A leading South Carolina Democrat charged Sunday that his state’s recent Democratic primaries had been tainted. And House Majority Whip James Clyburn used some very colorful language to do so.

In addition to the fact that Alvin Greene, an unemployed veteran with no apparent campaign apparatus, won Tuesday’s race for the South Carolina’s Democratic Senate nomination, Clyburn also told CNN of a suspicious element in his own primary race - a consultant with Republican ties worked for Clyburn’s unsuccessful challenger.

Watch: Clyburn speaks out on recent S.C. Dem primaries

“I saw the patterns in this,” Clyburn said on CNN’s State of the Union. “I know a Democratic pattern. I know a Republican pattern and I saw in the Democratic primary elephant dung all over the place. And so I knew something was wrong in that primary. And this result tells us that.”

Clyburn also told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that he did not see himself supporting Greene in his effort to unseat popular conservative lawmaker Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina. And Clyburn reiterated his theory that Greene’s candidacy was orchestrated to disrupt the electoral process in South Carolina. “Of course, Candy, I never said [Greene] was a Republican plant,” explained Clyburn. “I said he was someone’s plant.”

Related: Clyburn calls for an investigation into Greene's bid

Speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon in an interview that aired Saturday night, Greene denied that he had been planted in the race by the Republican Party.

(Video of Lemon's interview with Greene embedded after the jump)

“No, I’ve always been a Democrat,” Greene told Lemon. “And I am the best candidate for United States Senate in South Carolina.”

Greene, who is jobless and living with his father, said he used his personal savings to pay the roughly $10,000 filing fee required to initiate his Senate bid. And Greene had “no comment” about criminal charges pending against him, repeatedly telling Lemon that his lawyer “was dealing with that.”

Greene also called two South Carolina lawmakers who have questioned his mental health “knuckleheads.”

The chairwoman of the South Carolina Democratic Party called on Greene to withdraw from the race soon after the criminal charge against him was first reported, but Greene refused.

“The election was certified as 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time yesterday,” he told Lemon Saturday. "So, I’m on the ballot from here on out. I’m in all the way and I’m the best candidate for United States Senate in this race in South Carolina.”

Filed under: 2010 • Alvin Greene • James Clyburn • Popular Posts • South Carolina • State of the Union
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Given the history of SC politcs, and the choices made by SC citizens to ignore rules and laws over the past couple hundred years, ANYTHING can happen, probably has happened, and will happen again.

    It's a shame.

    June 13, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Coherent1

    We know for sure something is not right about Greene's candidacy. Either that, or SC voters has some serious explaining to do. Something is really wrong with this guy and it's not a joke. But what did he say to SC to make them say yes to him? Was his campaign all audio? Did he speak before the people? You can look at him and tell he something's not quite developed in a 'Forest Gump's friend Bubba' kind of way.

    June 13, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Karl in Charleston,SC

    Well, Jim, at least you didn't blame "Dubya"! The true story here is that the Democratic Party of SC can't control is own primay process. If the Dems have a problem with Alvin Greene, why did he win their primary?
    The Dems know that DeMint will win re-election and they weren't paying attention to their own primary.

    June 13, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Hey, I'm a democrat but plant or no plant, there seems to be no question that Democratic voters voted for him. If we are stupid enough to vote for someone with an inability to vocalize an intelligent position beyond a few worn-out sound bites, then that's our problem. It worked for Sarah Palin. Perhaps it will work for Alvin Greene.

    June 13, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. JohnRJ08

    Alvin Greene was put up to this by someone and that someone should be prosecuted for subverting a state's electoral process. It is the worst kind of political corruption. Only one person had anything to gain from Greene's win and that was Jim DeMint, who is virtually assured of a landslide win in November. Greene is, at best, an inarticulate, highly nervous man who is obviously frightened by all the attention he's getting. This is not the kind of person who seeks public office unless there is some alterior motive. In this case, I think Green was made promises by whomever put him in the race. Maybe they told him that his felony conviction would disappear or they promised him a lot of money if he stayed in the race until November. There needs to be a major congressional investigation of this man and the FBI needs to step in. It is no joke.

    June 13, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Zelda Rabinowitz

    Hey! The voters have spoken!

    June 13, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. CTSadler

    It's South Carolina... what does he expect? That state's been a political laughing-stock for the past three years. Joe Wilson, Nikki Haley, Mark Sanford, the place is a joke.

    June 13, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Specter Lost - why am I not surpriised...

    sour grapes..... smoke screens, call it what yo want it is not going to work. so what is someone is a plant, he won the election, did he not. so why doesn't Clyburn just shut up and lick the wounds. People in SC have spoken.

    June 13, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. thor

    Is James Clyburn saying that democratic voters in S.C.that voted by a nearly 60% margin for Mr.Greene are no better than elephant dung.How sad for a man that rose to be House Majority Whip hold voters in S.C.to that view.

    June 13, 2010 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. kmac

    this greene fellow is certainly not able to talk I don't know how serious voters would have looked at this guy and thought he is a candidate. He was clearly on something yesterday when Don was speaking with him. It was so obvious this guy has some issues mentally. If anyone can disprove that I'll give them 10,000 dollars.

    June 13, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Discernment


    (1.) – One year ago Alvin Greene was just let out of prison and is now on probation.

    (2.) – Seven months ago Alvin Greene was filing for unemployment.

    Do the mainstream media have any investigative reporters available to determine just how an unemployed convict could get $10,000.00 six months ago to pay filing and registration fees to enter S.C. Democratic Primary Senate race? Would not an unemployed convict find better things to do with his $10,000.00?

    June 13, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. blue

    Of course the election was a fraud in SC. It can be solved with tracing the money trail. The GOP will do evertying that they can dosto cover this up. But Demitt, you will be out foxed this time.

    June 13, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Patsy, Texas

    This is very strange indeed, and considering the lengths some
    South Carolina politicians will go to, I would not be surprised.
    However, believing and proving are two separate things.
    If South Carolina does not recognize the questionability of this
    "win", and does not have enough pride within their own confines
    to seek the truth now, as they apparently have not been
    willing to in the past, then they will have to live with the
    consequences. Goofballs are bouncing all over the political spectrum.
    Some love it because they think it is to their advantage,
    some reject it because enough harm has been done to America.
    We need solid, compassionate, smart-thinking people in
    Congress who are willing to work not only for their State, but to
    be aware of how their decisions affect the whole Country, not to
    mention that working together is mandatory for getting anything done.
    Personal agendas are no longer acceptable.
    Wishful thinking, I know, but hope springs eternal. Thank you

    June 13, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Annie, Atlanta

    I saw the interview of Greene done by Keith Olbermann last week. There is something very wrong here. Mr. Greene, God bless him, doesn't seem aware of what's going on. This is very sad and I hope they get to the bottom of it very soon. However, it being South Carolina, I don't know if that's possible. Makes you wonder if this is how the Republicans stay in charge in these poor southern states.

    June 13, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Remember the Alamo

    Sour grapes. It really doesn't matter the Republican Demint is going to win.

    June 13, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Paul from Phoenix

    Gotta love the dems. After watching Rand Paul and Sharon Angle win in the GOP primaries, the dems couldn't get to a mic quickly enough to laugh at the GOP. Now they have a similar situation, and they do whatever they can to cut the guy. No honor in politics. Ironic though that this is happening to a black candidate in South Carolina....

    June 13, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Abe

    If the Republican party has anything got do with this debacle shame on them. I know Mr. Lemon with CNN was interviewing Mr. Green last night an I think he went overboard trying to get information about his problem with the law or asking him if he was ok. Asking him if he is on something. I also question how Mr. Green won with no political experience, no political rallies, no speeches, no fund raisers and no big name political backing. I smell skunk. The Republicans have something to do with this because a better Democratic candidate will give Mr. DeMint a run for his money. I also cannot believe the Democrats sat there and watch everything unfold. My question is who got paid? This needs investigation. I would like to know how many black votes verses white votes did Mr. Green get to win. I guess our political system is getting rigged and no wonder people are losing trust in there elected officials.

    June 13, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  18. Squirt South Carolina

    Awwwwww...this is sour grapes at its best....and to be sure, it's all probably true, but sour elephant whatever at its best!

    The people of South Carolina don't want clean elections, clean primaries or even clean candidates, for that matter. Any attempt to field a legitimate candidate by ANY party other than the Republican'ts, will be met with every attempt to make the competition null and void—in this state. (And I love this State...not the politics, mind you! Just this State!!)

    Let's ALL— Democrat and Republican alike—get behind Alvin Greene, defeat the South Carolina machines, and send him to Washington. He won't last long...the establishment there will end up eating him alive...but the State machine will learn a lesson, even though it got its way! (And Alvin better have a long memory!)

    June 13, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Floyd Scott

    It's ok for Dem's to bribe people to stay out of elections but if a election out come is not to their liking it is tainted. Maybe it just shows how stupid Democrates are in SC. If CNN posts this I will be really suprised.

    June 13, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Well, SOMEONE had to have voted for him, right? He didn't win just by casting a lone vote for himself – lots of others had to have voted for him, too. They obviously have heard of him, or else were just so tired of the incumbent/status quo that they voted for " the other guy". Either way, he won. Deal with it....................

    Isn't that what all the Progressives have said since Obama was elected?

    June 13, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. had been tainted

    yes but...

    I am enough of a cynic to think that most of the election process that matters is tainted

    I think you are correct to point this out, but it is also a very obvious inconcistencency

    not difficult for you at all to call him on being a plant (not really brave of you either), but even so, something should be done

    June 13, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. t22

    Please, there is no mystery. African Americans overwhelmingly support Pres. Obama (91%) as opposed to all Americans (mid to upper 40%). In this case you had an African American veteran versus a guy who looks like the epitome of old time, southern, white politicians. With SC's demographics among the Democratic party and the reality of identity based politics, it's quite easy to see why Green won.

    In fact, I'd bet that race notwithstanding in any race in the country today that an outsider veteran who is struggling with the same issues many Americans face would fare well against an establishment politician.

    June 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. binghamton n.y.

    Guess, the republicans voted for him to.
    Strange, there is no question on Nancy, and Harry mental health.

    June 13, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Ken in Arizona

    Now this is the way the US Election system should work. Get rid of the incumbents and lawyers and bring in someone who is in touch with the people of America, someone down in the trenches. Is there perhaps a democrat Tea Party happening!!!!

    Thank God we live in a great country, the USA.

    June 13, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. GOPer

    I have to agre with Clyburn: I smell a skunk.

    I do feel sorry for Alvin Greene as it is evident he is being used by somebody.

    June 13, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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