June 8, 2010: South Carolina unknown Alvin Greene wins the Democratic Senatorial primary against party-backed Vic Rawl to face Sen. Jim DeMint in the general election. But following his win, Greene is the subject of a series of bizarre revelations, including that he is unemployed, lives at home, didn’t exactly campaign for his position, and is facing an obscenity charge. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) even accuses Greene of being one of three “plants” in his state, part of a greater conspiracy to subvert the voting process.
But Greene is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the craziness that seems to consistently emerge from South Carolina. This got us thinking about our favorite recent (and classic) scandals from the Palmetto State…
June 4, 2010: South Carolina State. Sen. Jake Knotts (R) refers to Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley (who is of Sikh descent) as a “raghead.” Though he is called upon to resign by other GOPers, Knotts refuses because the loss of “us rednecks” would leave a “void” in the GOP.
May 24, 2010: South Carolina blogger Will Folks claims he and Nikki Haley had an “inappropriate physical relationship” and releases text messages that he claims prove the allegation. The texts, purportedly exchanged between Folks and Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson have messages like “your the one who screwed her.” Haley denies the affair, even after a second SC GOP consultant claims to have had an affair with her. She later says she will resign if she wins the election and the claims are proven to be true.
April 26, 2010: Haley isn’t the only candidate for South Carolina governor who has made headlines. Her opponent in the Republican primary, Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, gets some attention for saying that “flat-out lazy” people are the real cause of the immigration problem in the U.S., because “people would rather sit home and do nothing than do these jobs.” Bauer has previously compared poor people to “stray animals,” saying “if you give an animal or a person ample food supply, they will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that.”
September 9, 2009: Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) raises eyebrows when he shouts “you lie” at President Obama during an address to Congress about health care reform. Obama had just said that the bill will not cover illegal immigrants, prompting Wilson’s heckle, which then prompts a round of boos from other House members.
June 18, 2009: Gov. Mark Sanford (R) kicks off his whirlwind disappearance tour, vanishing for a few days before claiming he had just been “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Of course, he is soon caught disembarking from a flight from Argentina, and later admits he was there visiting his mistress.
December 14, 2003: Essie Mae Washington-Williams comes forward at 78 to reveal she is the daughter of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond and a black woman who once worked as a maid in the Thurmond household. Thurmond was a well-known segregationist in his time, and even conducted a 24-hour filibuster by himself in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
May 22, 1856: Rep. Preston Brooks (D-SC) nearly beats Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA) to death with his wooden cane on the Senate floor. A few days earlier, Sumner had made a speech comparing Andrew Butler, a Brooks relative, to Don Quixote, and mocked Butler’s handicap.