Okay, I’m not buying this.
As you may have heard, last night had a big surprise in the Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina. Probably no Democrat would have much of a chance against Sen. Jim DeMint (R) this year. But the main candidate was Vic Rawl, a judge who’s also served four terms in the state legislature. He’d raised $186,000. Against him was Alvin Greene, a rather unorthodox candidate. And Greene won. (The best theory people have come up with is that no one in the state had really heard of either guy and Greene’s name came first on the ballot; and that gave him an advantage.)
Greene’s unemployed, recently out of the Army and living with his parents, and has an outstanding felony arrest from last year for showing obscene photos to a college student.
Back in March he walked into the state Democratic headquarters with a personal check for $10,400. That’s the filing fee. The party people said they weren’t allowed to take a personal check. It had to come from a campaign account. So a few hours later he came back with a check from a campaign account. And he signed up to run.
And that was it. He held no events. He never campaigned. He didn’t go to the convention. He never filed any money filings. He never raised any money. He didn’t even have a website. In other words, by every conceivable measure he never actually mounted a campaign. When Mother Jones called him shortly after his victory and asked him what was up, he seemed hard pressed to explain why he had run or really anything about what was going on other than to insist that the ten grand was his money.
Now, if Rawl, the other guy, had had much hope of beating DeMint there would be a much more logical argument about why someone would want to put Greene up to this as some sort of dirty trick. But that’s not really true. Rawl seemed like a real, real longshot.
But still. I know people don’t have to be professional politicians to run for office. They don’t have to have conventional political ideas — to put it mildly. But when an out-of-work guy with no political background at all and no stated reason why he chose to run puts up ten grand to run in an election I’d really expect him to have some reason for running — some strong political beliefs, maybe some crankish political beliefs, the desire for exposure or self-promotion, something. But here, nothing. None of those seem to apply. That doesn’t make sense to me.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.