Corey Hutchins over at the Free Times brings my attention to his story about Alvin Greene, posted this afternoon:
…State party executive director Jay Parmley looked like he’d bitten down on a joy buzzer as he sat in the chair of his office, scrolling up and down the precinct reports on his computer monitor shaking his head, cursing under his breath, wondering why, why, why; how, how, how?In the race for United States Senate, political unknown Alvin M. Greene had walloped challenger Vic Rawl.Around the state, Democratic activists were facing the smacking electoral truth that a non-campaigning, unemployed, black, country-living, coo-coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs nobody who’d been kicked out of the Army and was currently facing federal sex charges had just beaten — in the Democratic primary, and by 17 percentage points — a well-known former legislator, judge and current Charleston County councilman who’d raised a quarter of a million bucks for the race and for months been campaigning his ass off.The news wasn’t sinking in as much as it was settling like a depth charge….
But I wasn’t nearly as impressed by that as I was by the fact that Corey had done a reasonably complete story on Greene well before Tuesday’s vote. An excerpt from that May 19 piece:
At the end of a dirt driveway off a dusty highway in rural Clarendon County, just outside the town of Manning, a lawn overgrown with weeds sports no campaign sign for the man living in a house there who has filed to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate.
The candidate, a 32-year-old unemployed black Army veteran named Alvin Greene, walked into the state Democratic Party headquarters in March with a personal check for $10,400. He said he wanted to become South Carolina’s U.S. senator.
Needless to say, Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler was a bit surprised.
Fowler had never met Greene before, she says, and the party isn’t in the habit of taking personal checks from candidates filing for office. She told Greene that he’d have to start a campaign account if he wanted to run. She asked him if he thought it was the best way to invest more than $10,000 if he was unemployed.
Several hours later, Greene came back with a campaign check. The party accepted it, and Greene became an official candidate for the U.S. Senate. He was eager to have his picture put on the party’s website to show he had filed, says state Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley.
And Corey was asking Greene himself some of the questions that should have been asked:
Reached by phone May 12, and asked how he thought his campaign was going, Greene said, “So far, so good.”
Asked when he planned to file with the FEC, he replied, “OK, yeah, so what do you need? What are you trying to get from me, now? I’m in a hurry.”
Greene says he decided to run for the United States Senate two years ago when he was serving in Korea.
As for the $10,400 he used to get on the ballot, Greene says it was money he’d made from being a soldier.
“That was my personal pay,” he says. “Money out of my pocket.”
Parmley says he finds the whole thing odd.
He says running for any other office in the state would cost much less money. “If you’re going to file for something and not do anything, why waste $10,000?”
Even then, ahead of time, Corey was raising the Republican conspiracy theory, rightly or wrongly:
Greene’s curious candidacy raises the question that something else might be going on.
Republican place markers in Palmetto State Democratic primaries are campaign legend.
In the early ‘90s, a Republican strategist was prosecuted and forced to pay a fine when he was found to have coaxed an unemployed black fisherman into running in a primary race to increase white turnout at the polls in a Lowcountry congressional race. The political operative paid the man’s filing fee.
Greene says he’s never heard of such a thing. He says he just really wanted to run.
Regardless of how or why he got into the race, his candidacy has certainly created some political intrigue.
Good enterprise, young man. Too bad more of us didn’t read it at the time.