Sen. Nominee Was Kicked Out of Army, Has Felony Charge Pending
Alvin Greene, a Political Unknown, Faces Popular GOP Incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint
By DEVIN DWYER and STEVE OSUNSAMI
MANNING, S.C., June 9, 2010
Alvin Greene, the surprise South Carolina Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, was kicked out of the Army last year and is facing a pending felony charge, according to court records obtained by ABC News.
Greene, who has yet to enter a plea or be indicted, was arrested in November and charged with "disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity" in Richland County, S.C., and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
The U.S. Senate candidate was captured on video surveillance Nov. 4 trying to show "obscene photographs from a website" to a female victim on the University of South Carolina campus and go to her room without her consent, according to the affidavit.
Earlier today, the 32-year-old military veteran, who lives with his parents, declined to discuss the incident with ABC News during an interview at his home in Manning.
"I have no comment about that, I have no comment," he told ABC News.
Greene has been unemployed and living in his rural hometown 60 miles south of Columbia. He doesn't own a cell phone and there is no computer in his house.
He returned home last August when he was involuntarily forced out of the Army after a 13 year career because "things just weren't working ... it was hard to say." He had served as an intelligence specialist in the Air Force and later as a unit supply specialist in the Army.
Greene shocked South Carolina Democrats Tuesday when he won a commanding victory over four-term state lawmaker Vic Rawl in the primary without the help of a war chest of campaign cash or an orchestrated effort to win voters across the state. In fact, there is little evidence that he campaigned at all.
"I didn't spend much. ... I kept it simple, nothing fancy," he said in a sometimes rambling and incoherent interview with ABC News. "It was 100 percent out of my own pocket."
Greene's campaign slogan is "Let's get South Carolina back to work," and he stayed on message today, telling ABC News, "My campaign is about the unemployed. We spend more money on locking people up than we do on getting people jobs."
He admitted he was "a little surprised" by his victory but said he believed he had earned it.
"It's not luck I got 60 percent of the vote," said Greene. "If it was 51 percent maybe it was luck, but 60 percent of the vote is not luck." He did not provide details of how or where he campaigned.
Meanwhile, state Democratic Party leaders and Rawl, who raised close to $200,000 crisscrossing the state during the campaign, remain stunned that Greene captured 59 percent of the vote.
"Conventional wisdom was that Vic would win easily," said state Democratic Party Chairwoman Carol Fowler. "It is quite an upset. ... There really is no explanation for why he won."
Analyst: Greene an 'Easy' Challenger for DeMint
Fowler said Greene's victory was a setback for Democrats' attempts to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint.
"Now that becomes harder with a candidate with no political experience," said Fowler, who met Greene in March when he came into her office to file papers to run, but hasn't spoken to him since.
As Greene enters the national spotlight in his bid to unseat a popular senator in a conservative state, he faces tough questions about his personal and professional record and pressure to provide clear answers.
"I'm looking forward to a September debate" with DeMint, Greene said of the effort to educate voters. "I would like an hour debate live on one of the networks."
"I will also need the party's backing with funding on the state level and national level," he said.
It's unclear how much money, if any, the party will give to Greene, whom many political analysts don't give a chance against DeMint.
"You had an absolute unknown [Greene] running against a virtual unknown [Rawl]," said Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon. Greene's victory "says something about the depth of the Democratic bench in South Carolina, but not much more than that."
Huffmon says DeMint and Republicans have never been concerned with either potential challenger ahead of the general election and said conspiracy theories that Republicans may have facilitated Greene's victory to give DeMint a weaker challenger are misguided.
Greene's victory could have negative implications for the Democratic Party, however, since Greene could appear to be a "sacrificial lamb." "If the party doesn't put time and energy into helping someone unknown get respectable turn out, then it could look very bad for the party," he said.
ABC News' Luis Martinez, Michael Murray and Gregory Simmons contributed to this report.