Greene certified as winner

Alvin Greene does a phone interview Thursday on winning Tuesday's Democratic U.S. Senate primary. Greene, an unemployed Army veteran, defeated Vic Rawl.

The State Election Commission has certified the results of Tuesday's primary, including declaring Alvin Greene the winner of the controversial Democratic primary contest for the U.S. Senate.

The 3 p.m. Friday meeting in Columbia lasted only 15 minutes and no one appeared on behalf of any of the candidates or campaigns.

Though Greene was declared the winner, second-place Democratic primary finisher Vic Rawl has until noon Monday to file a protest of the election with the S.C. Democratic Party.

Greene, 32, an unemployed military veteran from Manning who raised no campaign funds and was unknown to Democratic officials even in his home town, won the primary over Rawl, a former judge and state lawmaker from Charleston, with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

The S.C. Democratic Party called on Greene to withdraw as the nominee-elect the following day, after it was reported that Greene was facing a felony obscenity charge stemming from an arrest in November for allegedly showing pornography to an 18-year-old University of South Carolina student in a computer lab at the school.

Had Greene withdrawn before the results were certified, Rawl would have taken his place on the ballot.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has suggested Greene was a "plant" thrown into the race as a spoiler, and has called for a federal investigation.

S.C. Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler said a party official dropped by Greene's residence for a talk Friday but Greene showed no sign of dropping out.

"Of course, we are encouraging him to withdraw," she said.

Greene has steadfastly refused to drop out of the race and, reached by telephone at his home Friday after he was certified the winner, Greene said he was ready to go forward.

"That's good," he said. "I'll just put out I'm the best candidate for South Carolina in the U.S. Senate. That's all I have to say. Thank you."

Greene will face Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in the fall election. DeMint has more than $3.5 million in his campaign account, while Greene has reported raising no funds.

Though Rawl could appeal the results of the race by Monday, he could only raise an issue about an irregularity in the primary -- not on any of Greene's qualifications or abilities. Late Friday, Rawl's campaign said several experts have found statistical oddities in the voting results, and another volunteer expert was planning to examine selected voting machines.

"We do not know that anything was done by anyone to tamper with Tuesday's election, or whether there may have been innocuous machine malfunctions, and we are promoting no theories about either possibility," said the statement issued by Walter Ludwig, Rawl's campaign manager. "However, we do feel that further investigation is warranted."

The statement also said the Rawl campaign has been contacted by voters and poll workers "who experienced significant problems with voting for whom they intended. We are looking into these reports and will release any information we find."

With Greene apparently dedicated to the race, some voters are voicing support for the underdog, including Debbie Harper of West Ashley, who was looking for a way to send him a campaign check.

"I wanted someone fresh and because I didn't want another attorney in there," she said, explaining why she voted for Greene last week over Rawl.

"I don't think he's (Greene) any worse or better than the rest of them," Harper said. "He just doesn't know how to get started."

Fowler said she still believes it would be better if Greene did step down.

"It is apparent that he is a weak candidate," she said, adding, "He says he's campaigned, but I haven't found anybody who's met him."

With the Democratic nominee having been repudiated by his own party, Green Party candidate Tom Clements is attempting to step into the void and raise the profile of his own little-known campaign for DeMint's Senate seat.

Clements, of Columbia, is an environmental activist who works for Friends of the Earth on nuclear issues, including the unsuccessful attempt to block plans by South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper to build two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County. Earlier this year before the S.C. Supreme Court, Friends of the Earth lost its appeal to overturn the S.C. Public Service Commission's decision to allow construction of the reactors.

Clements has never held elective office, which he views as an advantage over DeMint, who Clements describes as "an entrenched incumbent."

In a comment aimed at Greene, the Green Party of South Carolina said in a statement: "Unlike some candidates, Mr. Clements has no outstanding charges against him and his only arrest were (sic) in participating in civil disobedience aimed at bad nuclear policies, including trespassing in the late 1970s onto the site of the Barnwell spent fuel reprocessing site."

Like Greene, Clements has not visibly campaigned or put up a campaign website, or reported any fundraising activity to the Federal Election Commission.