EDITOR’S NOTE: The Post and Courier previously profiled all Republican and Democratic 1st Congressional District candidates. This profile is of the only third-party candidate in the race.
BY ROBERT BEHRE
Compared with the major political party candidates seeking the 1st Congressional District seat, Green Party hopeful Eugene Platt is saying something different.
For instance, he not only is calling for nationalizing health care and ending overseas military entanglements, but he also says he’ll probably lose on May 7.
“To be candid, I’m not expecting to win this election,” he says, “but I’m not expecting to be embarrassed, either.”
Platt, 74, says he will not be embarrassed as long as he gets at least 10 percent of the vote against Republican former Gov. Mark Sanford and Democratic businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
That may be an ambitious goal given the shape of the race.
While Platt was included in earlier forums during primary season, he has been relatively invisible in recent weeks, partly because he has not been invited to any candidate forums.
Asked about the snub, he says “not only is it frustrating, but also angering.”
Such forums provide Platt one of his main avenues to introduce himself to voters because he doesn’t expect to raise or spend more than $5,000 on the race.
Platt says most of his campaign is reaching out to personal contacts he has and using social media.
Platt ran for the 1st District seat as a Democrat but lost that 1990 election to incumbent Republican Arthur Ravenel.
Since then, Platt has served about two decades on the James Island Public Service District Commission and made several unsuccessful runs for the District 115 Statehouse seat.
Asked what prompted him to enter this 1st District race, Platt says he believes the country’s democracy isn’t being well served by having only two political parties, so he is doing what he can to make the Green Party a viable competitor.
“We Greens feel it is important for the voters to have more, not less, choices,” he says.
“Election after election, voters complain about not having more of a choice than ‘either-or’ and express a desire, in effect, to have the option of saying ‘No’ to both corporate party candidates.”
He says the economy is the biggest issue, and the Green Party’s positions on health care, social justice and ending foreign wars would lead to more jobs and put the country back on track.
He favors a single-payer health care system, similar to what Canada has, and calls the Iraq war “the single greatest foreign policy blunder in U.S. history.”
Platt received more than 9 percent of the vote during his last Statehouse run in 2010 but acknowledges that building the Green Party into a contender is “slow” and “very incremental” work.
“The fact we do have a presence here and are qualified (to be on the ballot) is encouraging,” he adds.