The Mis-Education of Alvin Greene
By Baynard Woods
Columbia City Paper
Alvin Greene answered his home phone when I called and we casually set up a time to meet. A few days later, the 32-year-old candidate regarded me from a puffy chair in the corner of his father’s home, which served as headquarters for his Zen-like campaign for the U.S. Senate. On the table by the chair sat toenail clippers, a disposable razor and a Sonic fast food bag.
“Lately it’s been very busy,” Greene said of his life as he took a bite from his sandwich. “I didn’t expect so much so soon.”
Greene is unemployed. He said that before the election he spent much of his time watching television. The news was on the whole time we talked.
Greene managed to pay the $10,000 filing fee to the State Democratic party, but no one noticed him until he inexplicably beat his opponent, Vic Rawl, by a large margin in the Democratic primary. Now, everybody wants to figure out what happened and who the heck Alvin Greene actually is. As was widely reported, Rawl challenged the results, claiming that the voting machines were faulty. South Carolina bought them used from Louisiana when that state outlawed them. Rawl collected anecdotal evidence but eventually acknowledged there was no good way to prove the errors he claimed had skewed the results.
Jim Clyburn, the majority Whip and Greene’s own representative, called Greene a “plant.” Lindsey Graham echoed Clyburn’s calls for an FBI investigation.
But, on the day before my visit, the state party had decided not to overturn the results of the election, making Greene, Sen. Jim DeMint’s official opponent this fall. The state party still hopes Greene will step down. When asked if Greene had a chance against DeMint, Kiana Page, the party spokesperson said, “This race proves that anything can happen in politics. Especially in South Carolina.”
Greene knows that as well as anyone and has a simple answer to the question of who he is. “I’m the best candidate in the United States Senate race in South Carolina,” he says.
I asked him if his non-campaign campaign was an intentional strategy to attack the anti-government senator. He just smiled and took a bite of his sandwich and looked at the TV. I asked what he was going to say to DeMint.
“Well, I’m planning for a September debate. One hour long on a major television channel.”
“If he refuses to debate, what would that say about him?” I asked.
“It says that he doesn’t care about the people of South Carolina or their concerns,” Greene answered. “He and other representatives are responsible and accountable for the dire situations we face here in South Carolina and across the country.”