On Alvin Greene

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 09:09

One of the news stories from Tuesday’s many primary elections which has stayed in the news is about unemployed veteran Alvin Greene trouncing unpopular member of the party machine Vic Rawl in the race for South Carolina’s Democratic nominee for Senate, 59-41.

Greene self-funded, meaning he used his own savings to pay the filing fee: his campaign consisted of calling up his friends and asking them to spread the word to their friends. Now Rawl is asking how Greene, a political nonentity, who didn’t campaign, could have defeated him. (Fox News, New York Times, The Root) Part of the blame for Rawl’s defeat surely goes down to how his own campaign was itself minimal: Charleston City Paper. But from reading these stories, I think there’s something simple which is getting lost: Rawl was unpopular. (From Public Policy Polling[pdf]: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Vic Rawl?” — favorable 5%; unfavorable 14%; not sure 82%)

To defeat someone unpopular, an unknown needs only to run. And with his unfavorable numbers at triple his favorable, Rawl should consider himself lucky to have picked up 41% of the vote! I’ve seen this happen several times with minor local offices, and sometimes even judgeships. The only news here was that it was an up-ticket race: US Senator.

Greene’s opponent come November is incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, who doesn’t have the millstone of unpopularity around his neck that Rawl did. Greene was able to win round one just for showing up, but in round two he’s up against a goliath.

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