The political soap opera of South Carolina politics continues to get uglier. On Tuesday a virtually unknown, unemployed army vet named Alvin Greene won the state’s Democratic nod for Senate without bothering to run a campaign or throw up a website. Greene’s shocking victory led Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) to call for federal investigators to look into whether the GOP had planted at least three candidates, including Greene, to hurt the Democratic party. In at least one case, he may be right.
Talking Points Memo reported today that businessman Gregory Brown, who ran on the Democratic ticket against Clyburn and lost with 10 percent of the vote Tuesday, in fact does have ties to the Republican party. Records show that Brown’s latest campaign payment went to a firm run by a former campaign manager for Republican lawmaker Joe Wilson — the guy who infamously shouted at Obama during his address last year to Congress.
Brown’s campaign paid Stonewall Strategies nearly $24,000 for "marketing" and "marketing materials," according to his 2010 campaign finance reports. The firm is run by former Wilson aide Preston Grisham.
Brown told TPM that Grisham’s Stonewall Strategies helped "set up the technical piece of our campaign" and did initial polling. Brown said his friends had recommended Grisham as someone with experience running political campaigns and who was "capable." At first Brown told me that he wasn’t aware of the connection with Wilson…Then Brown said "I was aware" that he had consulted with Wilson, but said he had "no knowledge" that Grisham held such a prominent role with the Wilson campaign.
"We searched high and low, there were very few people willing to get involved … we searched almost two months before we came up with Stonewall Strategies," Brown said. He said people told him "that for me to run would be political assassination because he’s been in office so long … that it would not be the politically astute thing to do.
Clyburn’s also accusing Ben Frasier, who won his Tuesday democratic primary in the 1st District, of also being a plant. So far, no evidence has surfaced directly linking Greene or Frasier to the GOP, but the former certainly isn’t helping his case.