COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - The No. 3 Democrat in the House of Representatives wants federal authorities to investigate how an unemployed South Carolina veteran won the state's Democratic primary for US Senate.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Thursday that he thinks a coordinated effort is behind Alvin Greene's shocking primary night victory over a former state lawmaker. The accusation, to many, seems far-fetched because incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint has always been heavily favored in the state.
"I don't know if he was a Republican plant; he was someone's plant," said Clyburn during a radio show earlier Thursday.
In a Thursday afternoon conference call, Clyburn said he only learned of Greene's candidacy the Friday before the primary. He said he was suspicious of the events in state politics after questions arose in his own primary battle.
"It was very clear to me during my campaigning in the last two weeks that something was going on in South Carolina that was untoward," said Clyburn.
He said his office has received several notices of robo-calls and people were traveling through rural communities to vote for the first name on the ballot, but he had no ideas on who was directing constituents to do that.
"Someone was subverting the entire process in the Democratic primary," said Clyburn.
Greene has not reported any fundraising in his challenge of DeMint. The unemployed military veteran said Thursday there's no need for any investigation but would not say if anyone helped him pay the more than $10,000 filing fee.
"I just did simple, old-fashioned campaigning, nothing fancy or expensive," said Greene in an interview on SC ETV.
However, the political unknown could not name a single place he had visited on the campaign trail. He even admitted to using his unemployment benefits as campaign capital.
Party officials asked Greene to sit out of the race after learning he faces a felony charge, but Greene says he's staying put.
CNN reported Thursday afternoon two of the state's Democratic House members met with Greene in Columbia. State Reps. Bakari Sellers and Todd Rutherford met with him out of curiosity, when the man was launched into the national spotlight. However, their assessment was not confidence-inspiring, reports CNN. Rutherford said Greene should undergo a mental evaluation, in fact.
Rutherford represents Richland County and is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus.
While the state Democratic party is pushing away from Greene, the political darkhorse seems to be gaining some momentum. Barely 24 hours after Greene's legal quandry was cast into the spotlight, a group calling themselves "Defend Alvin Greene" have formed and are holding a press conference at 3 p.m. Friday -- to ask for state party chair Carol Fowler's resignation.
The only Democrat that seems to be quiet on the topic of Greene's primary win is Vic Rawl, his opponent. Rawl issued a brief statement Thursday night calling the entire escapade "an eventful three days" for the state.
Court records show 32-year-old Alvin Greene was arrested in November and charged with showing obscene Internet photos to the USC student.
Greene has kept to his talking points about South Carolina politics and repeatedly declined comment about the pending charge. "Well, I'm innocent until proven guilty and that's our government, that's our Constitution," he said.
When asked about stepping into the political ring with an iconic figure like DeMint, he said he would be ready, even if he can't match his Republican counterpart's $4 million war chest.
"In the end, it's not the money that's added up, it's the votes that count," said Greene.
Yet, it's the money that Clyburn and others are trying to follow to explain Greene's mysterious, overnight rise to prominence in state politics.