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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Even after legal charges emerged, SC Dem. Greene vows to stay in race

South Carolina’s newly-minted Democratic Senate nominee remained defiant Wednesday night, saying he wouldn’t step aside even after charges surfaced that he had shown a college student obscene photos last fall.

State Democratic Party officials have called for Alvin Greene to withdraw from the race, but he told the Associated Press that “the people have spoken. We need to be pro-South Carolina, not anti-Greene,” and that he would remain in the race.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler told POLITICO she remains hopeful Greene will reconsider, but in the meantime they are speaking with their attorneys to see if there are other ways to remove him from the ballot.

“I really don’t know yet if we do or not, or if we have to appeal to the better angles of his nature,” said Fowler. “I don’t think he is ready to do it right now, but we hope that he willwithdraw because it’s not helpful to have him on the ticket.”

Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed Army veteran, raised no money and had no staff in his primary campaign against Charleston City Councilman Vic Rawl. The two candidates were competing to face Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in November.

On Wednesday, the AP reported that Greene had been arrested in November after approaching a University of South Carolina student in the school library, showing her a pornographic photo on a computer, and then suggesting they go to her dorm room. Greene was released on bond but hasn’t entered a plea or been indicted.

As for how Greene ended up posting an 18-point win over Rawl, who campaigned and fundraised statewide, Fowler said she remains puzzled.

“I have no idea. I obviously have watched this campaign. I’m not a gambler, but I clearly would have put money on Vic Rawl winning,” said Fowler. “It’s clear he could have beaten Sen. DeMint.”

When Greene began to take a narrow lead over Rawl as returns began coming in, Fowler had first thought that it was Greene’s name appearing first on the ballot that could have been drawing votes. But with unofficial returns showing him winning by double digits, Fowler admitted that couldn’t be the main reason for his win.

“I think that ballot position might make a little difference in an election, but I don’t think it can make [a nearly] 20 percent difference,” she said.

Wednesday’s news was only another embarrassing revelation for a state that’s had more than its share of bitter and shocking politics. Most recently, the Republican governor’s race was marred by charges from two state political consultants that they’d had physical relationships with Nikki Haley, who placed first in balloting Tuesday to advance to a June 22 runoff. The Indian-American Haley was also the target of racial slurs by GOP state Sen. Jake Knotts, who referred to her last week as a “raghead” on an internet talk show.

Fowler said she’s aware of the state’s reputation, and that this latest episode doesn’t help the state or her party.

“South Carolina has repeatedly been embarrassed nationally by elected officials—almost entirely Republican,” said Fowler. “We don’t want a Democrat to join that group of disgraced public officials, and that is why we want Mr. Greene to withdraw.” (Source)

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