How Did Alvin Greene Win In South Carolina?
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
The state Democratic Party has asked Greene to quit the race. He has refused. Now joining us to try to explain what happened is Richard Harpootlian, former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, now a lawyer in private practice. Welcome to the program.
RICHARD HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.
BLOCK: Let's explain here. The unemployed vet who won, Alvin Greene, was running against Vic Rawl, former state legislator, former judge, he had a lot of cash. Alvin Greene gets 60 percent of the vote. This is a guy who had no campaign, was a complete unknown. How did he do it?
HARPOOTLIAN: Well, I think it's a pretty simple explanation. G comes before R. Neither one of these guys was known. If you're going down the ballot, and you see two people, and you don't know either one, you know, you either don't vote in the race, or you go alphabetically. That's the only explanation I can come up with.
BLOCK: Do you believe that there is also something more nefarious going on here? The South Carolina congressman, James Clyburn, has said he thinks shenanigans were at play, that Greene was somebody's plant. He said it just doesn't add up that an unemployed guy paid $10,000, the registration fee, to run for the U.S. Senate.
HARPOOTLIAN: Of course, it didn't. It was a stupid thing to do. I prosecuted her brother and convicted him.
BLOCK: Well, that happened in the past. Is there any sign that that has happened this time around?
HARPOOTLIAN: I mean, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong there. I'm just saying that raises a question. And my sources indicate to me that the DA is going to have this man brought into court and find out if he can afford $10,000 to file for office, why can't he find $10,000 to hire a lawyer rather than relying on the taxpayers to provide one?
BLOCK: Can we review some recent political history in South Carolina? You've got Governor Mark Sanford, who of course hiked the Appalachian Trail all the way down to Argentina.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
BLOCK: You just had the woman who is running to replace him, Nikki Haley, being accused of infidelity and disparaged as a rag-head in her campaign. What's in the water down there in South Carolina?
HARPOOTLIAN: So, I mean, it's like a bad soap opera. It's funny in some ways but very sad because all of this distracts from the realization and the reality that we face in South Carolina every day, which is we're 50th in education, we're 50th in every measure of health care, we're 50th in quality of life. And that's not going to change until our political leadership changes, and with this kind of frivolity and shenanigans, it never will.
BLOCK: Well, Richard Harpootlian, it's good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
HARPOOTLIAN: Take care. Sure, bye-bye.
BLOCK: Richard Harpootlian is former chair of South Carolina's Democratic Party.
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