When the Democratic primary race was announced last month, the party's first choice, a retired judge that ran an agressive campaign with a huge war chest, lost to an unknown man.
And thus began a fascinating tale that is still unfolding today:
The South Carolina Democratic party was sent into a tailspin from which it is still recovering. Where did this Alvin Greene come from? He had never run for public office and had no experience of political campaigning. He doesn't own a computer and uses the one at the local library. He didn't have a website through which to marshal his troops. Come to think of it, he didn't have any troops. He had no mobile phone or donors, though he did print flyers. His name recognition among South Carolinians was close to zero.
So what happened?
Questions began to be asked, conspiracy theories cooked. The leading Democratic congressman in the state, Jim Clyburn, came up with the idea that Greene must have been planted into the race by the Republicans to destroy the Democrats' chances of winning the election proper in November. Others likened Greene to Forrest Gump and questioned his mental stability. To cap it all, it was discovered that he was facing criminal charges for allegedly having shown pornography to a female college student. Local and national newspapers had a field day. He was dubbed the "mystery man" and the "Manning-churian candidate". The banner headline in a local paper perfectly captured the mood: "Who the hell is Alvin Greene?"
Whoever he is, Alvin has got some ... erhm, unusual ideas on how to get people jobs:
"Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That's something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It's not something a typical person would bring up. That's something that could happen, that makes sense. It's not a joke."
Ed Pilkington has more on the enigmatic Democratic nominee for South Carolina's upcoming Senate election: Link (Photo: Sabree Hill)