COLUMBIA, S.C. – Unconventional U.S. Senate hopeful Alvin Greene has an idea about how to get South Carolinians back to work: start selling action figures of himself.
Greene, himself an unemployed 32-year-old veteran, won a surprise victory in South Carolina's Democratic primary June 8. He said Wednesday the toy line idea shows he's thinking outside the box about ways to combat the one of the nation's worst jobless rates, which was 11 percent in May.
"I've heard good things about it," said Greene, whose toy line idea was first reported in the British newspaper The Guardian. "People like it. It's creative, and we're serious about doing everything we can to get South Carolina and America back to work."
Greene, a political unknown with no fundraising or website, stunned the party establishment when he won 59 percent of the vote to defeat former state lawmaker Vic Rawl. He faces Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the heavy favorite in the fall who has $3.5 million to spend in his pursuit of a second term.
The day after Greene's victory, Democratic Party leaders called on him to withdraw from the race after The Associated Press reported he faces a felony obscenity charge. He is accused of showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student in November.
Greene has declined to comment on the charge. He has not entered a plea or been indicted and insists he's staying in the race.
Green's victory has attracted other candidates to the race. Anti-nuclear activist Tom Clements has filed to represent the Green Party, and supporters started collecting signatures in an effort to get Charleston businesswoman Linda Ketner on the ballot, but she decided Monday she wouldn't enter the race.
Questions have swirled concerning how Greene paid his $10,440 fee to file as a U.S. Senate candidate, yet still qualified for a court-appointed attorney after his November arrest. Greene said he saved up two years of military pay to pay the filing fee.
State police have said they want to use a new law that would allow them to subpoena Greene's financial records — and see if he broke any laws.
Greene said the figurines would have him dressed in outfits ranging from military uniforms to a suit, to depict his military service and newfound political aspirations. Military records show Greene served in the Air National Guard from 1995 to 2002 before he was discharged with permission to enlist in another military branch. His records are blank until July 2006, when he re-enlisted in the Army National Guard. After a year, Greene joined the U.S. Army, and was discharged in August.
As for his campaign idea, Greene says he was open to discussions with major toy companies but has not been approached by any.
"If they contact me, I would be willing," Greene said. "I'm a true American hero, instead of somebody just fictitious."