This whole situation in the South Carolina Senate race is shaping up to be a scandal. But who is behind it?
Senator Jim DeMint (R) was seen as vulnerable in this year's South Carolina Senate race when Vic Rawls, a retired judge, former state legislator, and currently a Charleston County Council member, entered the South Carolina primary as the only viable Democratic candidate.
Then Alvin Greene, a 32 year old unemployed military veteran who resides with his father, and who had been arrested on a pornography charge last fall and been assigned a public defender, pays the $10,440 filing fee with a cashier's check, mounts no campaign, and wins the primary with 59% of the vote.
Greene raised no campaign funds for the senate race and didn't even have a website. When he was interviewed on MSNBC's Countdown by Keith Olbermann, it was apparent that he could not answer simple questions about his campaign without prompting from his attorney who was standing off camera. How did this happen?
A few things should be noted:
a) South Carolina has open primaries meaning that anybody can vote for any candidate, regardless of party.
b) South Carolina uses Diebold electronic voting machines that lack a paper trail.
c) Irregularities in the primary election have been reported: some voters tried repeatedly to vote for Rawls, but when they tapped his name on the screen, Greene's name appeared instead, and that Greene received more votes in some precincts than were actually cast.
Of course South Carolina has a storied history of voting chicanery. After all it was the home of Lee Atwater, the architect of modern day dirty politics, such as the Willie Horton ad mounted during the 1988 George H.W. Bush campaign against Gov. Dukakis, and the 2000 Republican Primary between John McCain and George W. Bush, in which advertising pieces charged that McCain had fathered an illicit, black child. That child, now a grown woman, Sen. McCain and his wife Cindy, adopted as a baby. She was born into poverty in Bangladesh.
Carol Fowler, Democratic State party Chairwoman has called on Greene to withdraw from the race. He has refused. Vic Rawl has appealed to the Democratic Party to set aside the primary race. The party plans to hold a hearing this Thursday and could overturn the result. Rawl could get a new primary by laying out "... a convincing argument" that voter fraud happened.
Senator Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the Democratic Majority Whip, has said he thinks someone put Greene up as a shell candidate to embarrass the party. Rawl said at a news conference in Charleston that he suspects Greene's victory is due to either voting machines or software malfunctioning.
This could get very interesting. Stay tuned...