Rawl to contest Senate primary loss, cites massive systemic problems

Source: The Associated Press
Source: The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The former state lawmaker who lost South Carolina's U.S. Senate Democratic primary to an unknown, unemployed military veteran is protesting the election results.

South Carolina Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley says Vic Rawl filed a protest just before the noon deadline Monday.

Rawl issued a statement just after noon, detailing the reasons why he was protesting the results of the election.

"There is a cloud over Tuesday's election. There is a cloud over South Carolina, that affects all of our people, Democrats and Republicans, white and African-American alike," he said. "At this point, the people of our state do not have the basic confidence that their vote will be counted."

In the release, Rawl called the election and Greene's victory, a "strange circumstance."

Greene stunned state party leaders June 8 when he defeated Rawl in the primary. Neither candidate had done much campaigning, but Greene had raised no money and had no ads or website.

The primary, and subsequent election debacle, has garnered national media attention. Sunday, a top White House adviser opined on the issue on NBC's "Meet the Press," that Greene's win was a big mystery. David Axelrod said South Carolina Democrats deserve a strong, credible candidate.

The White House has not released an official statement on the South Carolina Senate primary.

Rawl says experts who have analyzed the data say they've noticed irregularities in the vote totals. Rawl says his campaign has heard from voters who had countless issues with the voting machines used in the primary. According to Rawl, the machines were purchased from Lousiana after that state outlawed their use.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn says he thinks someone put Greene up as a shell candidate to embarrass the Democratic Party. But Greene insists he saved for two years to pay the $10,000 filing fee.

However, Rawl said the issues he raised were not directed at Greene, saying, "Sir, this is not about you, and it's not about me. I wish you and your family nothing but the best in the weeks and months ahead."

The South Carolina Election Commission issued a statement Monday afternoon defending the voting machines currently in use by the state.

"The system has been used in thousands of election since its implementation in 2004 and has always functioned as it is designed to function," said the SCEC release. "It is important for voters to know that the State Election Commission expects the system to perform in the Runoff as it has thousands of times before, accurately and reliably."

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