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Efforts to Oust Greene as Dems’ S.C. Senate Nominee Hit Two Roadblocks

Two of the four challenges to political newcomer Alvin Greene’s claim on the Democrats’ South Carolina Senate nomination are DOA today.

The first blow came yesterday afternoon, when state Attorney General Henry McMaster (R) declined to investigate Greene’s surprise win over former state representative and judge Vic Rawl. Greene defeated Rawl 59-41 in the party’s primary on June 8.

Mark Plowden, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, told CNN McMaster had no plans to conduct an investigation.

“No one has provided this office with any credible allegation or information suggesting criminal wrongdoing,” he said.

Plowden’s statement came the same day the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington faxed a letter asking McMaster to investigate whether “Alvin M. Greene violated South Carolina law by accepting an inducement to file as a candidate for the United States Senate from South Carolina, and if any individual violated South Carolina law by offering such an inducement.”

A second challenge also appeared to be all but dead this morning, when The Hill reported that the state’s election commission also had no plans to investigate Greene’s win.

“The state election commission sees no reason to initiate an investigation into our voting system,” Chris Whitmire, a spokesman for the commission, told The Ballot Box. “We have full confidence in the reliability and accuracy of the state’s voting system and we have nothing to indicate there was any voting-system failure on June 8. The system has performed accurately and consistently.”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) had said in several appearances that he wanted the commission to investigate whether the state’s voting machines were to blame for the primary result. He told Fox News Wednesday morning that he believed hackers may have tampered with the machines. Whitmore told The Hill that Clyburn had never contacted the commission.

Two other challenges — one from CREW and one from the Rawl campaign — remain open at this point.

CREW filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over Greene’s documented failure to file mandatory campaign finance disclosure forms, along with similar allegations against the campaigns of three other Democratic candidates in South Carolina races.

An FEC spokesman confirmed with TWI that the commission had received the complaint but would not give further comment on its status.

Rawl formally filed a complaint Monday and will present the details of his complaint to the state party’s executive committee today. He is seeking to invalidate the primary result based on, among other things, an analysis that indicates voting irregularities. If Rawl gets his way, there will need to be a new primary election.

Update at 2:40 pm.: Apparently the hearing, scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., will be streamed live on the Rawl campaign website.

Update at 3:50 p.m.: Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, told TWI she believes McMaster’s office was wrong to reject the group’s investigation request.

“He says he has not received any credible information about possible criminal wrongdoing,” she said. “That’s what the point of a criminal inquiry is — to find that information. Alvin Greene is indigent and there are serious questions about how he came up with his filing fee. There is a crime in South Carolina called ‘inducement to run,’ and Mr. McMaster seems to not care to find out whether that crime took place here.”

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