CAROL FOWLER is OUT in SOUTH CAROLINA (and I am still smiling!)

August 14, 2010

What can one say about the ever evolving political miasma that is South Carolina politics?  I wrote Part One of this piece in June, when Alvin Greene, the seemingly challenged challenger for the D slot in the U.S. Senate primary in South Carolina had just won the election.  I updated in Part Two with developments since that time, including today’s news about the candidate’s criminal justice status.


Geesh, the Democrats can be such sore winners!

On Tuesday, June 10, Alvin Greene won the South Carolina Democratic primary contest for U.S. Senate fair and square, earning him the right to face Republican Senator Jim DeMint in the November 2010 election. Yet Carol Fowler, Chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party (“SCDP”) immediately asked him to withdraw from the race, predicting that “new information about Mr. Greene has (sic) would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters.”

“New information” about Mr. Greene certain to have affected the choice of enough of those voters who voted for him, to change the outcome of the primary election? Whoa, this must be some “new information,” considering he bested his opponent, Vic Rawl, by more than 30,000 votes, 100,362 to 69,853, or 18 percentage points!

“New information”?  The deadline for filing his candidacy with the SC Election Commission was March 30, 2010.  Surely nothing that could have occurred between then and June 10, when he won the primary election, could be considered “new.”

I wonder whether Ms. Fowler refers to something he blurted out to PubliuSC during their telephone interview while he was still basking in the afterglow of his triumphant win!

Asked about foreign policy, he said he wanted to see one Korea under a single democracy, “like there used to be an East and West Germany.” Could that be the “new information” which made Ms. Fowler want to overturn the results of the election? Nah.

Or his response to the complex question about free trade? (Ha, that was a trick question!. When asked his views on free trade, Mr. Green explained he “would have to “study that more” before he could give “a definite answer.” )

How about his views on labor, when he proclaimed SC should remain a right-to-work state* (“we don’t have unions here in SC and I want to keep it that way”)? Goodness knows, this could have been mind-altering information for some voters. Yyyye…but no.

*The denial of the right to work because of membership or nonmembership in a labor organization is against public policy.

(Here is the tape of that interview, in case those of you who are new here think I am making this up!)

Maybe some newly uncovered information about the candidate’s personal lifestyle put Ms. Fowler off.

Mr. Greene is 32, and still lives at home with his parents. He has no mobile phone or computer. (That could explain why the candidate had no campaign web site.)

But even Ms. Fowler would concede that in South Carolina, being a little eccentric is more likely to be seen as a virtue than a vice.

So, what was this earth shattering vote changing “new information”? Well, according to the statement posted on the SCDP web site, it’s this: Mr. Greene has pending felony obscenity charges.

June 9, 2010
Today, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler asked Alvin Greene to withdraw from the race for US Senate. Greene, a resident of Manning S.C., was the apparent winner of the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in yesterday’s primary. Since the election, the Associated Press has revealed that Greene was recently charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity after showing obscene photos to a University of South Carolina student. Fowler released the following statement after her conversation with Greene:

“Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the US Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race. I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee. But this new information about Mr. Greene has would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters,” said Fowler.

“We are proud to have nominated a Democratic ticket this year that, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greene, reflects South Carolina’s values. Our candidates want to give this state a new beginning without the drama and irresponsibility of the past 8 years, and the charges against Mr. Greene indicate that he cannot contribute to that new beginning. I hope he will see the wisdom of leaving the race.”

Yep. Last November, the winner of the 2010 SC Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate was arrested on criminal obscenity charges, accused of showing pornographic images to an 18-year-old female student on a computer at the University of South Carolina campus, before suggesting they go to her room. Greene has been charged with “disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity.” And if convicted, he could face a maximum 5-year prison sentence. Id.

Spending 5 (five) years in prison would certainly cut into his official Senatorial duties. But Mr. Greene will not go gentle into that good night.

“The people have spoken. We need to be pro-South Carolina, not anti-Greene. That percentage of the vote is not luck. Id.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) is furious that Greene refuses to step down. He has called for a probe to look at the possibility that an outside party might have funded his campaign beyond legally permissible limits, and without having disclosed the source of those payments. He also called on the U.S. attorney in the state to investigate Greene’s alleged felony.

“I would hope the U.S. attorney down there would look at this,” Clyburn said about Greene’s qualifications for the ballot, also pointing to Greene’s having allegedly tried to pay the fee to run for Senate in cash, despite being unemployed.

I think there’s some federal laws being violated in this race, but I think some shenanigans are going on in South Carolina,” Clyburn explained. “Somebody gave him that $10,000 (sic) and he who took it should be investigated, and he who gave it should be investigated.

There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary,” Clyburn said during an appearance on the liberal Bill Press radio show. “I don’t know if he was a Republican plant; he was someone’s plant. Id.

(Note to readers: Bill Press is the ‘reporter’ who asked WH Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “Is there anything you can say that will make the Birthers go away?” Gibbs answered, “No; the God’s honest truth is, no.” Mr. Press followed up. “Are you gonna try?” Mr. Gibbs now referred the reporter to the President’s “birth certificate” posted on the internet. This time, Mr. Press did not follow up, evidently accepting Mr. Gibbs’ word that the birth certificate is posted on the internet; and that viewing this electronic image posted on the paid political on-line advertising campaign dubbed, “Fight the Smears,” an image visible only through a computer screen proves the President was born in HI. Even so, Mr. Press failed to detect that Mr. Gibbs only said this document proved Mr. Obama is a citizen, and not that he is a Natural Born Citizen. (Then again, in all fairness to Mr. Press, maybe he had no idea there is a Constitutional distinction between a citizen and a Natural Born Citizen, that unique status of citizenship required to be President, anyway.)

So far, this situation is a laugh riot, right? But wait…it’s even funner than you know.

Carol Fowler – she’s married to Don Fowler, former Chair of the DNC Services Corporation – and her dupe-in-crime, Senator Clyburn, seemed shocked that this candidate they find to be so inappropriate to the D brand could have won their spot for U.S. Senate on the November ballot, right? But that makes no sense. Know why? (You are going to love this next part.)

Because in SC, in order to vie for a position as the nominee for the party; the candidate must register for the primary directly through the party! Yep; Mr. Greene filed the required paperwork with the DPSC and handed over the $10,440 filing fee directly to them.* The SCDP then forwarded his name, along with his filing fee, to election officials at the SC Election Commission (“SCEC”) to get them to print his name next to the D on the primary ballot by noon on March 30, 4 (four) full months after Mr. Greene’s arrest on criminal obscenity charges, in November. And, presumably, as required by state law, someone from the DPSC swore he was or at the time of the election would be eligible for the job!

*( The filing fee is one percent of the annual salary of the office multiplied by the number of years in the term of office or $100, whichever is greater. This fee funds the party’s primary.

HA HA HA HA HA! I’ll bet anything Carol Fowler wishes she’d done a better job of vetting this candidate!

You know what this reminds me of? Back in the fall of 2007, then DPSC Treasurer Kathy Hensley tried to deliver Carol Fowler’s list of candidates for the 2008 Presidential Preference primary to the SCEC but they wouldn’t take it. Because for some reason, Ms. Fowler had left out the eligibility Certification. Well, this was no problem for Ms. Hensley. She just whipped out her pen and scribbled out her own Certification, on the spot! (Who said Barack Obama isn’t a Natural Born Citizen!)

So far, Mr. Greene is holding his ground, and seems determined to face Mr. DeMint in the fall. But he knows he cannot be successful without Democratic support. With good reason. “I need my state and national party to help me. I don’t have any signs.” Id.


Well, since I wrote that article in June, there have been 2 (two) major developments in the story.  Most recently, Mr. Greene was indicted for the crime.

What does this mean to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in November?  In South Carolina, it’s not so easy to get an elected party nominee off the ballot.

SC Election Law

SECTION 7-11-50. Substitution where party nominee dies, becomes disqualified or resigns for legitimate nonpolitical reason.
If a party nominee who was nominated by a method other than party primary election dies, becomes disqualified after his nomination, or resigns his candidacy for a legitimate nonpolitical reason as defined in this section and sufficient time does not remain to hold a convention to fill the vacancy or to nominate a nominee to enter a special election, the respective state or county party executive committee may nominate a nominee for the office, who must be duly certified by the respective county or state chairman.
“Legitimate nonpolitical reason” as used in this section is limited to:
(a) reasons of health, which include any health condition which, in the written opinion of a medical doctor, would be harmful to the health of the candidate if he continued;
(b) family crises, which include circumstances which would substantially alter the duties and responsibilities of the candidate to the family or to a family business;
(c) substantial business conflict, which includes the policy of an employer prohibiting employees being candidates for public offices and an employment change which would result in the ineligibility of the candidate or which would impair his capability to carry out properly the functions of the office being sought.
A candidate who withdraws based upon a legitimate nonpolitical reason which is not covered by the inclusions in (a), (b) or (c) has the strict burden of proof for his reason. A candidate who wishes to withdraw for a legitimate nonpolitical reason shall submit his reason by sworn affidavit.
This affidavit must be filed with the state party chairman of the nominee’s party and also with the election commission of the county if the office concerned is countywide or less and with the State Election Commission if the office is statewide, multi-county, or for a member of the General Assembly. A substitution of candidates is not authorized, except for death or disqualification, unless the election commission to which the affidavit is submitted approves the affidavit as constituting a legitimate nonpolitical reason for the candidate’s resignation within ten days of the date the affidavit is submitted to the commission.

SECTION 7-11-55. Substitution of candidates where nominee selected by primary election.
If a party nominee dies, becomes disqualified after his nomination, or resigns his candidacy for a legitimate nonpolitical reason as defined in Section 7-11-50 and was selected through a party primary election, the vacancy must be filled in a special primary election to be conducted as provided in this section.

And being indicted does not legally bar his run for the U.S. Senate.

We will have to wait and see what trick Mr. Clyburn has up his sleeve.  (At a minimum, look for another appearance on the Bill Press (Paid Political Advertisement) Show.)

Here’s the other big news since June.  Ms. Fowler announced on July 6 she will not seek a 3rd term as SCDP Chair in the spring of 2011. She maintained, this decision had absolutely nothing to do with the Greene situation.

I cannot imagine her successor will be half as funny.

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