House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) wants an investigation into the shocking upset election of Alvin Greene in the South Carolina primary Tuesday. The jobless veteran with no political experience took 59 percent of the vote to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate despite putting virtually no money into his campaign and making few, if any, appearances.
"There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary," Clyburn said on the Bill Press radio show, according to The Hill
. "I don't know if [Greene] was a Republican plant; he was someone's plant." Clyburn is particularly suspicious that Greene could come up with the $10,400 needed to register for the race despite being unemployed.
A spokesman for Sen. Jim DeMint, Greene's opponent in the general election, said the charge that the Democratic nominee is a Republican plant is "ridiculous."
Greene was urged Wednesday by his state's Democratic Party to withdraw from the race
because of a pending felony charge. The candidate allegedly showed obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, the Associated Press reports. Court records show that Greene, 32, was arrested in November. He posted bond after his arrest and has yet to enter a plea or be indicted, the AP reported. The charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
Greene said he had no comment when asked about the charge Wednesday and hung up on a reporter, the AP said.
In Tuesday's vote, Greene upset his primary opponent, Vic Rawls, 64, a former judge and four-term state legislator.
Greene has said he scraped together the $10,400 filing fee and funds for his campaign from money he had saved while serving in the Army in South Korea. Greene said he completed his military service, a total of 13 years in the Air Force and Army, last August. He has been unemployed since.
The Army said Wednesday that Greene, from Manning, S.C., was discharged in August 2009 after being promoted to specialist. He served three years as a supply technician, including a tour in South Korea from June 2007 to July 2008. He last served with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.
Greene's military records also show he served in the South Carolina Air National Guard from July 1995 to June 2002, and in the South Carolina Army National Guard from July 2006 to February 2007.
Greene put out no campaign posters, ran no ads, and although he said he had campaigned across the state, was vague on the precisely where he had appeared.
"As far as I know, he never showed up at anything,'' state Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler told reporters. She speculated that voters picked Green over Rawl because his name came first on the alphabetical list of candidates.
Rawl himself expressed shock and disappointment at the Election Day result. "I never saw him,'' he said of Greene. "I've still never met him."
Greene's out-of-nowhere victory sparked speculation that he could be a Republican "plant,'' a deliberately weak candidate to run against De Mint.
But Greene insists he is exactly as he seems -- a jobless veteran who is acting on his dream of helping get America back to work. He said he was inspired while he was posted in South Korea in 2008 by news reports about the crumbling economy and rising unemployment back home.
"I just saw the country was in bad shape,'' he told Mother Jones
magazine. "The country was declining. I wanted to make sure we continue to go up on the right track."
DeMint, a deeply conservative GOP standard-bearer seeking his second Senate term, has reportedly amassed a campaign war chest of $3.5 million.
Greene remains undaunted. He said he is excited about the campaign. "I'm looking forward to the debate this September,'' he said.