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S.C. Democrats Try to Oust Their Senate Nominee over Felony Allegations

Less than a day after Alvin Greene scored an upset victory in South Carolina’s Democratic Senate primary, the state party has begun a PR campaign to push him out following news that he faces a felony-grade obscenity charge.

Earlier today, news broke that Greene, a 32-year-old Army veteran, was arrested and charged in November on accusations he had showed obscene photos to a University of South Carolina student. Greene declined to comment on the accusations to The Associated Press.

The state party is now starting a push to force Greene out of the race, releasing a statement from party chair Carol Fowler a short time ago:

Today I spoke with Alvin Greene, the presumptive Democratic nominee for the US Senate, and asked him to withdraw from the race. I did not do this lightly, as I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee. But this new information about Mr. Greene has would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters,” said Fowler.

“We are proud to have nominated a Democratic ticket this year that, with the apparent exception of Mr. Greene, reflects South Carolina’s values. Our candidates want to give this state a new beginning without the drama and irresponsibility of the past 8 years, and the charges against Mr. Greene indicate that he cannot contribute to that new beginning. I hope he will see the wisdom of leaving the race.”

Greene stunned state leaders and the press yesterday when he defeated former state representative and circuit court judge Vic Rawl 59-41 percent in the party’s primary to challenge Sen. Jim DeMint (R). Mother Jones has an interesting profile piece on Greene that details his almost non-existent campaign presence against the party-supported Rawl.

*Update at 5:28 p.m.: *It’s worth pointing out that if Greene withdraws, South Carolina election law only appears to detail candidate substitution for “legitimate nonpolitical reasons,” which include:

(a) reasons of health, which include any health condition which, in the written opinion of a medical doctor, would be harmful to the health of the candidate if he continued;

(b) family crises, which include circumstances which would substantially alter the duties and responsibilities of the candidate to the family or to a family business;

(c) substantial business conflict, which includes the policy of an employer prohibiting employees being candidates for public offices and an employment change which would result in the ineligibility of the candidate or which would impair his capability to carry out properly the functions of the office being sought.

A candidate who withdraws based upon a legitimate nonpolitical reason which is not covered by the inclusions in (a), (b) or (c) has the strict burden of proof for his reason. A candidate who wishes to withdraw for a legitimate nonpolitical reason shall submit his reason by sworn affidavit.

A replacement candidate would have to be selected through a special primary election. A week-long filing period would begin the second Tuesday after the candidate’s resignation was approved. The election would occur the second Tuesday after filing closed, with a runoff — if needed — two weeks after that.

Rachel Rose Hartman contributed to this report.

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