Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None — Alvin Greene appeared Monday on WBT radio, nearly three months after winning the primary nomination for the South Carolina Democratic U.S. Senate.
Greene, who won his party's primary without raising any funds or putting up a campaign website, is out campaigning now, pulling out his black spiral notebook at a handful of appearances across the state and hitting the broad themes of creating jobs, improving education and establishing more fairness in the justice system. Other specifics have started trickling out: He is against gay marriage and gays in the military, but for abortion rights.
But at his core, Greene, who turns 33 on Tuesday, remains the same quiet, shy man who seems more comfortable in his "Greene for Senate" T-shirts than his business suit. He still takes long pauses when he speaks.
He isn't quite sure what to make of his sudden success.
"I'm interesting," Greene said Monday when asked if he agreed with reports that have called him enigmatic. "Interesting, more than anything else. Just interesting. I have interesting ideas and interesting ways of doing things."
Greene appeared on the Charlotte radio station because it reaches into South Carolina. He spent two hours on the air.
Greene's Republican opponent, incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, has appeared on WBT, too.
Greene was also scheduled to give a speech Monday evening at The Coal Yard restaurant in York, S.C., where he was expected to take questions from voters and reporters. Greene has made similar appearances in the past six weeks since his first-ever speech brought international attention to his hometown of Manning.
But the campaign trail hasn't been all smooth. After he was indicted earlier this month on two charges, including a felony count of showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student, one local Democratic party rescinded its invitation to Greene. Police had to be called when Greene showed up anyway and a woman he called his "personal assistant" began arguing with party members.
Greene said on the radio that South Carolina Democratic leaders are coming around. When pressed, he named just one of the state's most eccentric Democrats, Sen. Robert Ford from Charleston.
The state's pre-eminent Democrat, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, said last week he will not vote for Greene because of the felony charge.
The leader of the state Democratic party doesn't mask her disgust when asked about him.
"He is not at all viable as a candidate," party chairwoman Carol Fowler said Monday. "We have so many good, strong candidates running statewide and at the local level who are getting no attention."
Greene on Monday repeated his assertion that the charges come from political opponents trying to smear him. After being asked several times if he showed pornography to the student, Greene cut the topic off. "It's ridiculous. And that's what I say. And that's it. Let's move on."
In three of South Carolina's larger counties -- Anderson, Beaufort and Dorchester -- the local Democratic party website doesn't even list Greene as a candidate.
That hasn't stopped Greene from living his dream. He said he loved politics as a child and got an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of South Carolina in 2000. He has spent much of the past three months saying he wants a debate with "my opponent," refusing to use his name. DeMint and his staff haven't mentioned Greene at all and have no plans to debate him. DeMint held six debates with his opponent when he first won the seat in 2004.
Greene has added some more sounds bites to his repertoire. "Marriage is between a male and a female," he said Monday on the radio.
"There's a lot of folks just taking advantage of our system," he said later, saying he would support changing the Constitution so that a person born in the U.S. isn't automatically a citizen.
Talk show host Keith Larson had to explain cap-and-trade to Greene, who came out against it and then sounded distraught when he found out that Democrats mostly support it.
Greene hasn't lost his good-natured humor either. He jokingly complained the station didn't send a limousine to his home in Manning, as promised. And he laughed at one of his own replies when asked if he was against aliens immigrating to the U.S. "Aliens from outer space, we wouldn't want them running up bills either."