Vic Rawl, the former four-term state lawmaker who lost the Democratic Senate primary in South Carolina to unemployed veteran Alvin Greene, is protesting the outcome of last week's primary.
Rawl filed his protest earlier today with the South Carolina Democratic Party.
"We have filed this protest not for my personal or political gain, but on behalf of the people of South Carolina," Rawl said in a statement. "There is a cloud over Tuesday's election. There is a cloud over South Carolina, that affects all of our people, Democrats and Republicans, white and African-American alike."
Greene managed to win the primary last week by an 18-point margin, even though he was an unknown candidate who, it later came out, . Rawl, by contrast, raised more than $180,000 for his campaign and was already planning campaign events for the general election before he lost last week.
Questions immediately arose about the legitimacy of Greene's campaign. High-ranking South Carolina Democratic Rep. James Clyburnand questioned how he acquired the money to pay the $10,400 filing fee to enter the race.
The "strange circumstances" of the election require a thorough investigation, Rawl said in his statement.
He also used his statement to excoriate the whole electoral system in South Carolina.
"At this point, the people of our state do not have the basic confidence that their vote will be counted," he said. "Regardless of the outcome of this protest, a full and unblinking investigation of this election and the overall integrity of South Carolina's election system must go forward. Whether our protest is upheld or not, I intend to bring my full energies to electoral reform well into the future."
He noted that South Carolina's voting machines were purchased surplus from Louisiana after that state outlawed them and that there is documented evidence of their unreliability.
Rawl has been working with experts unaffiliated with his campaign who say that data analysis reveals irregularities in the election results. Additionally, Rawl said that voters and poll workers have contacted him with "stories of extremely unusual incidents" from election day.
Rawl said in his statement that his protest was not about Greene, or the controversies surrounding him.
"I would like to speak directly to Mr. Greene and say: 'Sir, this is not about you, and it's not about me. I wish you and your family nothing but the best in the weeks and months ahead,'" Rawl said.
The South Carolina Democratic Party has asked Greene to step out of the race because of the pending felony charges, but Greene has so far insisted he will stay in the race.
Meanwhile, a government watchdog group plans to file a Federal Election Commission complaint against Greene, the Associated Press reports. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington will reportedly file a complaint tomorrow, since Greene failed to file the proper campaign disclosure reports for his Senate bid.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod also noted yesterday that Greene's victory was "mysterious."
Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether Greene was a legitimate candidate, Axelrod said, "It doesn't appear so."
"The whole thing is odd," he said. "I don't really know how to explain it, and I don't think anybody else does either."If Greene remains the Democratic candidate, he will face Republican incumbent Jim DeMint in the general election.