Alvin Greene: Will South Carolina Dems yank him from their ranks?
Outsider-extraordinaire Alvin Greene won last week's South Carolina primary without campaigning. Democrats are now determining whether Greene will remain a candidate with a 'D' next to his name.
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An unemployed Army veteran with a criminal charge against him, Mr. Greene beat former judge Vic Rawl 59 to 41 percent in the June 8 primary. The state Democratic Party is hearing evidence Thursday that includes reports of faulty voting machines and allegations of a put-up job as party officials decide Greene's future as a Democratic candidate.
Yet it's possible that party bosses will have to say that Greene simply won – and, ultimately, that the party itself may be as much to blame for not scrutinizing Greene earlier.
"Up and down the political spectrum, you find this problem of races without well-known candidates, and somebody for some bizarre reason ends up doing well," says Mark Tompkins, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. "That said, you would assume that a major party would have a well-known candidate for the US Senate, and the fact that [the South Carolina Democratic Party] didn't is a reflection of the weakness of the party."
Greene's opponent, Mr. Rawl, had only a 4 percent name recognition in the statewide race, despite logging 17,000 miles on the campaign trail and paying for more than 200,000 robocalls.
On the other hand, Greene's name is similar to the soul singer Al Green. Also, he was listed before Rawl on a long primary ballot.
“The psychology here is the ‘primacy effect,’ ” Joanne Miller, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, tells Newsweek. “When people have to make a choice from a visual list, the theory is that they start at the top, consider the first choice, and if they can think of a reason, just stop there, and not necessarily go to the second choice, the third choice, and so forth.”