Top Ranking Democrat Accuses Mystery Senate Candidate Of Being A Plant

Congressman James Clyburn is a little suspicious of surprise candidate Alvin Greene:

The man nominated as Democrats’ candidate for Senate in South Carolina might have been a “plant,” a high-ranking Democrat suggested Thursday.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) called for South Carolina to investigate the circumstances that led to Alvin Greene winning the Democratic Senate primary in his state earlier this week.

“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.”

The third-ranking House Democrat said he found it strange that Greene, a relative unknown prior to Tuesday, was able to produce the money to register and run for Senate despite being unemployed.

Greene allegedly tried to pay the registation fee in cash, and Clyburn said he wondered whether an outside party might have funded both the fee and Greene’s campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance laws.

The details of the payment of that filing fee, and the rest of Greene’s past, are suspicious enough for me to think that Clyburn is justified in calling for an investigation

The evidence is mounting that Alvin Greene — the mysterious unemployed veteran who has a pending felony charge and shocked South Carolina by winning the Democratic Senate primary Tuesday night — was put up to the candidacy in some sort of political skulduggery.

In March, Greene paid a $10,400 filing fee to get on the ballot. But just four months before that, when he was charged with showing obscene images to a woman, Greene qualified for representation by a public defender— which in South Carolina requires an “affidavit of indigency” to prove that you can’t afford your own attorney.

Greene was charged in November with showing a University of South Carolina student pornography on his laptop in a school library. According to case information from the South Carolina Judicial Department, he is being represented by a Richland County public defender. For Greene to qualify for that representation, Richland County Assistant Solicitor Joanna McDuffie told Yahoo! News, he would have had to complete a questionnaire attesting to his income and assets.

“They ask, ‘Do you have a checking account?,’ and if you say yes, then you have to say how much is in it,” McDuffie said. If Greene disclosed a bank account with more than $10,000 in savings, it’s doubtful — to put it mildly — that he would have qualified for a public defender. The South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, which operates the state’s public defender program, makes clear that courts take into account “the number of people in your household, whether you own any real estate, or have money in the bank” when deciding whether to assign a public defender to a defendant.

So there’s question number one — where did Greene get the money for his filing fee. Unless he struck it rich between November and March, it seems very unlikely that he paid it out of his own funds.

Honestly, I’m not sure what could possibly be going on here. Given the fact that Jim DeMint would be assured of re-election regardless of who his opponent was, I find it hard to believe that this was some kind of organized Republican plot. The most likely possibility to me would be that the entire candidacy is some kind of massive political practical joke.

Even then, though, the fact of the matter remains that 59% of the people who voted in the South Carolina Democratic Primary voted for this guy. There’s no way that could’ve been engineered by anyone. There’s a story here, but I honestly have no idea what it could be.

Meanwhile, practical joke or not, Greene is starting to make media appearances, and the non-seriousness of his campaign is becoming evident.

First here he is in appearance this afternoon with Shephard Smith on Fox News Channel:

And, here’s a longer, even more bizarre, interview with a local station in South Carolina:

And, to make things even more interesting, Greene will be a guest tonight on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. That should be interesting.

Stay tuned, folks.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. If I was Jim DeMint I’d be on Television demanding 50 debates right now!
    [For a light hearted take on our present peril]

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    So let’s assume for minute someone gave him the money to run. That’s an assumption with little basis at this point. Anyway, someone gave him money to file and you think that deserves an investigation but giving someone something of value not to run does not deserve an investigation? Now that money, if given to him, was not likely government money but private money and those jobs offered were government jobs not private. I don’t get the logic.

    The big question for me is why there was no viable Democratic candidate to keep this from happening but that’s an internal scandal for the party to look into.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Everything Steve P. said and the unquestionable fact he won. How did those evil Republicans get democrats to vote for this plant? The possiblities boggle the mind. Boggle, boggle, boggle.

  4. Highlander says:


    Are you aware of how racist you are?

  5. Lunacy says:

    I’m curious as to how he won. Why didn’t his primary opponent bring these issues up months ago?

  6. Michael Reynolds says:


    The fact that it would be stupid doesn’t mean it didn’t happen: everyone knew Nixon would beat McGovern, too. “Nixon wouldn’t be dumb enough to . . .” was probably the biggest single reason so many people were skeptical on Watergate.

    In any case, if there’s something going on here it’s vote-rigging not hiring a ringer. As a conspiracy it makes no sense unless there are two parts: A) Make sure there’s an opponent, and B) Rig the vote in favor of same.

    All of this sounds wildly implausible. But then, it’s South Carolina.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    It is not uncommon for the party of this gentleman to not properly vet their candidate. If we simply look at what the Obama admin. has accomplished since elected which has had a positive effect on the nation, one can see the wisdom of having someone with absolutely no executive experience, no business experience, no stake in the country, elected President. Wonder who put up Obama’s money when he first ran for Senate?
    Doug, did you vote for Obama? Are you having first thoughts yet (if you would have thought first, chances are you would not have voted for this fraud)?

  8. Herb says:

    This story just gets weirder and weirder. When’s his next court date? After being represented by a public defender for 8 months without so much as an indictment or a plea, you’d think it would be pretty soon.

    If a prosecution is going to happen, anyway.

  9. Bill Jempty says:


    This is not a plot. Are you telling me the GOP rigged the primary. WHo were all those voters who cast ballots for Greene. Psst…. Democrats.

    Clyburn is off his meds and maybe a racist. A federal investigation is downright ludicrus.

  10. Bill Jempty says:


    This is not a plot. Are you telling me the GOP rigged the primary. Who were all those voters who cast ballots for Greene. Psst…. Democrats.

    Clyburn is off his meds and maybe a racist. A federal investigation is downright ludicrous.

  11. Bill Jempty says:

    Takes foot out of mouth.

    Clyburn is off his meds if he thinks this is a GOP conspiracy. For what purpose? DeMint was a lock to win.

    One SC State Senator thinks race may have been a factor.


    State Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, who lost his gubernatorial bid Tuesday, said race could have played a role. The Democratic primary electorate is majority black, as is Greene, but not Rawl. “Vic Rawl had money, but he didn’t have enough. He wasn’t able to identify himself with black voters,” Ford said. “No white folks have an ‘e’ on the end of Green. The blacks after they left the plantation couldn’t spell, and they threw an ‘e’ on the end.”


    Honestly I think it was just a quirky election result. Brought on my voter disillusionment. It makes more sense than other theories.

  12. OK, here’s the conspiracy theory … Dems knew they had no chance to defeat DeMint…so they consulted their “false flag” experts – ACORN – on how to get some national traction from this one lost race – and came up with the idea of discrediting the grass roots “populist” mood sweeping America – by putting this clown forward for their own nomination. Election day execution was easy for ACORN – just fill the usual buses with the usual zombies and bus them around all day with instructions to select the first name on the ballot.

    It’s brilliant in a sick, demented, Progressive kind of way.

    Whattya think?
    [For a light hearted take on our present peril]

  13. just me says:

    I don’t see how this conspiracy really works. It is one thing to help a guy who isn’t really qualified or at least not a very good candidate get on the ballot, but delivering 59% of the votes? I don’t think so.

    I think the real question for me isn’t so much “how did the guy get on the ballot?” but “why did 59% of the democratic voters choose him?” Also, why didn’t his primary opponent do some simple investigations and call him on it during the primary. It doesn’t appear that it would take that much effort, arrests are public record. Not sure if it was over confidence on the part of the opponent or incompetence.

  14. Lunacy says:

    “Not sure if it was over confidence on the part of the opponent or incompetence.”

    Or a deep dread of being labeled a racist.

  15. Dustin says:

    The only thing I’m finding more odd than Alvin Greene right now are the majority of the comments here. There are a lot of people spouting things out who haven’t read either Doug’s post or Clyburn’s comments with any detail.

    While the question of the $10k is certainly intriguing, I would be more curious how 59% of the voters knew his name to vote for him. In watching that interview, even if his story is true, I don’t see how he reaches that many people going door to door, especially ones he would inspire to vote for him. The reporter should have focused on asking him what he campaigned on, instead of trying to find a flaw in his method. I’d be surprised if something doesn’t turn up in this.

    The great take away though is that South Carolina continues to be the most amazing state these days.