For Greene, 15 minutes are over
The oddball run of Senate candidate Alvin Greene came to a crash Tuesday, and apparently only the faithful straight-Democratic-ticket voters stuck around.
The overwhelming bulk of Greene's support came from the party's straight-ticket voters, election results show, with about 325,000 people collectively choosing Greene, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn and gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen in the same ballot pull.
The remaining 35,000 voters who sided with Greene did so for other reasons but were a small fraction of the 1.3 million ballots cast in the Senate race, S.C. Election Commission numbers show.
They could have been split-ticket voters, or against re-electing Republican Jim DeMint, or political pranksters.
State election watchers said the results indicate that for all Greene's post-primary good fortune, his 15 minutes of fame were fleeting.
"Accidents and coincidences got him there and nothing else," said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon. Greene's story "is one of a Democratic Party not paying attention to the person who was running against Jim DeMint," starting from the primary season in the spring.
Uncertified results gave DeMint 62 percent of the vote Tuesday to Greene's 28 percent. Green Party candidate Tom Clement drew about 9 percent.
Greene, 33, an unemployed ex-serviceman from Manning with no political experience, splashed onto the political scene in June when he defeated the heavy favorite, Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl, in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary.
The win came despite Greene's never being seen on the campaign trail. Many observers pegged Greene's victory to having his name appearing first on the ballot line.
Since that win, Greene has become an oddity, barely leaving the comfort of his rural country home to campaign. He took part in a few TV interviews and was seen giving "bunny ears" to television a reporter who was live on the air at the State Fair in Columbia.
Beyond that he did very little true politicking this fall. Practically no one showed up to his election night celebration at an events hall in Manning.
Reached at home Wednesday, Greene said he did not know if another state or local political run was in the cards, but that he would continue to promote his comic book figure, "The Ultimate Warrior."
He also blamed Clyburn and the state Democratic Party for abandoning him after his primary win, saying he could have been a contender.
"Clyburn and (state party Executive Director) Carol Fowler are the reason why the Democrats did bad," he said. "They should have gotten behind my message. They should have echoed my message."
Greene still faces felony pornography charges in Richland County for allegedly showing questionable computer material to a University of South Carolina coed last year. He faces a court appearance this month.
USC political scientist Bob Oldendick said Greene's contribution to the state's long history of election oddities is probably no more than a footnote, calling it a "reference point of the weird things that can happen."
The positive to be taken from Greene's candidacy, he said, is that his under-the-radar run will probably prompt more early background checks of candidates. For Democrats, Greene's candidacy "certainly did them no good," Oldendick said.
The Senate race also drew an exceptionally large number of write-in votes this year, numbering more than 21,000 statewide.
For now, those votes are being categorized under one heading as "write-in candidate" until they can all be sorted, counted and recorded individually, at which time an order of finish will be released, probably early next week.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.