2010 United States Senate election in South Carolina

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2010 United States Senate election in South Carolina

← 2004 November 2, 2010 2014
  Jim DeMint headshot.jpg AlvinGreene1 (cropped 2).jpg No image.svg
Nominee Jim DeMint Alvin Greene Tom Clements
Party Republican Democratic Green
Popular vote 810,771 364,598 121,472
Percentage 61.5% 27.7% 9.2%

2010 United States Senate election in South Carolina results map by county.svg
County Results

DeMint:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Greene:      40-50%      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Jim DeMint

Elected U.S. Senator

Jim DeMint[1]

The 2010 United States Senate election in South Carolina was held on November 2, 2010. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint won re-election to a second term. However, DeMint did not serve out the full term, as he resigned in 2013 to become president of the Heritage Foundation. Alvin Greene, the Democratic nominee, was the first major-party African-American U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina since Reconstruction.

Democratic primary[edit]



Democratic primary results by county:
  Vic Rawl
  Alvin Greene
Democratic primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Alvin Greene 100,362 59.0%
Democratic Vic Rawl 69,853 41.0%
Total votes 170,215 100.0%

Republican primary[edit]


  • Jim DeMint, incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Susan McDonald Gaddy


Republican primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim DeMint (Incumbent) 342,464 83.0%
Republican Susan McDonald Gaddy 70,194 17.0%
Total votes 412,658 100.0%

General election[edit]



Controversies surrounded the Democratic nominee, Alvin Greene. Greene's primary election win and his margin of victory surprised pundits. As of the primary, he had held no public campaign events, raised no money, and did not have a campaign website. A review of the primary election showed that of the state's 46 counties, half had a significant gap between the absentee and primary day ballots. For example, in Lancaster County, Vic Rawl won the absentees with 84 percent, while Greene won primary day by a double-digit margin. Rawl's campaign manager also claimed, "In only two of 88 precincts, do the number of votes Greene got plus the number we got equal the total cast."[6]

U.S. Congressman James Clyburn recommended Greene drop out of the race or else he would face a federal investigation into his candidacy – even as he faced a felony obscenity charge in Richland County from November 2009. Clyburn said, "There were some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary. I don't know if he was a Republican plant; he was someone's plant."[7] Political blog FiveThirtyEight's Tom Schaller suggested three possibilities: a legitimate vote, the vote was rigged, or the vote-counting software was corrupted. Schaller ruled out the possibility of Republican infiltration, similar to Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" in 2008.[8]

Green Party challenger Tom Clements won the endorsement of the Greater Columbia Central Labor Council of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, a coalition of labor unions.[9] Although the national media and Rasmussen Reports typically did not include Clements in their coverage of the race, the Clements campaign received regional media coverage. The September 7 Columbia City Paper featured Clements on its cover. The paper noted that the Clements campaign was "starting to get some considerable media coverage, both locally and nationally".[10] A Winthrop University poll conducted between October 5 and 10, 741 likely South Carolina voters found Clements running second with 12.2% of the vote against 11.2% for Democrat Alvin Greene and 58.3% for incumbent Jim DeMint.[11][12] An October 13 article in the Columbia Free Times noted that prominent Democrats were privately donating money to the Clements campaign.[13] According to the FEC, as of September 30, Clements for Senate had raised $34,334. Jim DeMint had raised in excess of $3 million. Alvin Greene reported no fundraising activities.[14]

Write-in candidates also joined the race, including the Reverend Mazie Ferguson,[15] Mauldin High School teacher Greg Snoad,[16][17][18] Michael C Neumann, who cited a disparity between the direction the government was headed and the will of the people, and chef Nathalie Dupree,[19] who insisted that DeMint was spending too much time campaigning in other states, while Greene was failing to challenge DeMint. Mazie Ferguson was endorsed by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in late August. Clyburn said he would not vote for his party's nominee due to Alvin Greene's felony indictment.[20]

Jim DeMint largely campaigned outside South Carolina for Republican Senate candidates identified with the Tea Party.[21] Diverse media outlets frequently referred to DeMint as a party "kingmaker" for supporting successful primary challengers to mainstream Republican candidates.[22][23][24]

At an October 3 appearance before a rally at Spartanburg North Baptist Church, DeMint reminded the audience of his 2004 comments that gay men and sexually active single women should be prohibited from teaching in public schools.[25][26][27] The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported:

DeMint said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn't be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who's sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn't be in the classroom. "(When I said those things,) no one came to my defense," he said. "But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down. They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion."[28]

The remarks attracted national media attention, largely critical.[29] DeMint defended the statements, saying that local school boards should decide the issue.[30] Challenger Tom Clements condemned DeMint's stance in a subsequent interview with the Herald-Journal:

"He's trying to push his version of religion onto the entire country. And I believe in separation of church and state. And I do believe that gay people should have equal rights," Clements said. "That's his belief, but I don't think he can force that on society as a whole or the public school system."[31]


Organization endorsements[edit]

Tom Clements:

Jim DeMint

Newspaper endorsements[edit]

Tom Clements:

Jim DeMint:


Source Ranking As of
Cook Political Report Solid R[40] October 8, 2010
Rothenberg Safe R[41] October 1, 2010
Real Clear Politics Safe R[42]
Sabato's Crystal Ball Safe R[43] September 30, 2010
CQ Politics Safe R[44] October 8, 2010


Poll source Dates administered Jim DeMint (R) Alvin Greene (D) Tom Clements (G) Other Undecided
Rasmussen Reports June 10, 2010 58% 21% –– 9% 13%
Rasmussen Reports August 3, 2010 62% 20% –– 7% 10%
Rasmussen Reports August 25, 2010 63% 19% –– 8% 10%
Rasmussen Reports September 22, 2010 64% 21% –– 10% 5%
Crantford & Associates October 2, 2010 58% 21% –– 10% 5%
Winthrop University October 5–10, 2010 58% 11% 12%[45] 3% 14%
Rasmussen Reports October 19, 2010 58% 21% –– 15% 6%


Candidate (party) Receipts Disbursements Cash on hand Debt
Jim DeMint (R) $3,521,210 $2,915,717 $2,224,594 $0
Alvin Greene (D) $0 $0 $0 $0
Tom Clements (G) $45,131 $20,216 $24,915 $0
Source: Federal Election Commission[46]


United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2010[47]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jim DeMint (Incumbent) 810,771 61.48% +7.81%
Democratic Alvin Greene 364,598 27.65% -16.46%
Green Tom Clements 121,472 9.21% +8.95%
Write-in 21,953 1.66% +1.58%
Majority 446,173 33.83% +24.33%
Total votes 1,318,794 50.12% -18.88%
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ "Jim DeMint Defeats Alvin Greene In South Carolina Senate Race". Huffingtonpost.com. November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "SC - Election Results". www.enr-scvotes.org.
  3. ^ "SC - Election Results". www.enr-scvotes.org.
  4. ^ "SC - Election Results". www.enr-scvotes.org.
  5. ^ Green, Libertarian, Working Families, Labor, Constitution, United Citizens, Independence - List of candidates who have filed with these parties. Tom Clements was nominated May 1 during the South Carolina Green Party Convention in Columbia. Candidates were nominated by convention and did not appear on Republican or Democratic primary ballots.
  6. ^ Catanese, David (June 11, 2010). "Experts review S.C. Senate ballots". Politico.Com. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  7. ^ "The curious case of Alvin Greene, surprise Senate candidate". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Schaller, Tom. "Politics Done Right: SC Democratic Primary Getting Weirder By The Hour". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  9. ^ SC Black News Staff Writer (July 15, 2010). "Unions Endorse US Senate Green Party Candidate Tom Clements". SCBlacknews.com. Retrieved July 18, 2010.
  10. ^ And in the Third Corner…An interview with Tom Clements, Green Party Candidate for U.S. Senate. By Darien Cavanaugh. Columbia City Paper. October 6, 2010.
  11. ^ Winthrop Poll Shows Haley Ahead and Other Opinions by S.C. Voters Winthrop Poll, October 13, 2010
  12. ^ Winthrop Poll Shows Haley Ahead and Other Opinions by S.C. Voters Winthrop Poll Questions and Answers. Page 2. October 13, 2010
  13. ^ Democrats Step Out for Clements — Quietly Archived October 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. By Corey Hutchins. Columbia Free Times. Issue #23.41 🅿️ October 13, 2010 – October 19, 2010
  14. ^ 2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for South Carolina[permanent dead link] All Senate Candidates -- SC
  15. ^ Gilbert, James (August 9, 2010). "Write-In Candidate to Challenge DeMint, Greene, Clements". WTLX.com. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  16. ^ CNN (September 6, 2010). "New Candidate in South Carolina Race?". CNN.com. Retrieved September 6, 2010.
  17. ^ WYFF4.com (September 6, 2010). "Gray Court Man Jumps Into Senate Race". wyff4.com.
  18. ^ Mauldin High School. "Welcome to Mauldin High School".
  19. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (September 30, 2010). "Nathalie Dupree to Jump Into South Carolina Senate Race - NYTimes.com". Thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  20. ^ "Clyburn won't vote for Dem nominee in Senate race". The Associated Press. August 25, 2010. Archived from the original on August 27, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  21. ^ DeMint Transfers Campaign Money to State Republicans Archived October 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. By David M. Drucker, CQ-Roll Call. CQ POLITICS NEWS. October 18, 2010 – 1:20 p.m.
  22. ^ Jim DeMint: Call him the kingmaker. S.C.'s DeMint a star on the rise. By James Rosen. McClatchy Newspapers, Washington Bureau. Sunday, September 19, 2010.
  23. ^ DeMint Vaults From Back Bench to Republican Kingmaker: While Sarah Palin gets most of the attention for having helped numerous unlikely candidates win Republican primaries this year, DeMint emerged as an even bigger force. By Lisa Lerer. Bloomberg News. SPECIAL REPORT September 16, 2010, 4:36PM EST.
  24. ^ Jim DeMint: Conservative 'Kingmaker' or Inside-the-Beltway Interloper? Matt Lewis, Columnist. Politics Daily. May 25, 2010.
  25. ^ Tenenbaum, DeMint exchange unpleasantries on social security, taxes, gay teachers Archived December 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. WISTV. Associated Press. October 4, 2004.
  26. ^ Meet The Press. Transcript for October 17, 2004. Guests: Ken Mehlman, Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager, Bob Shrum, Kerry-Edwards '04 Campaign Chief Strategist, Rep. Jim DeMint, (R-S.C.), Republican Senate Candidate, Inez Tenenbaum, South Carolina State Superintendent of Education, Democratic Senate Candidate.
  27. ^ Sen. Jim DeMint: Gays And Unmarried, Pregnant Women Should Not Teach Public School. Amanda Turkel. Huffington Post. October 2, 2010.
  28. ^ DeMint addresses conservative issues at Spartanburg church rally. By Lynne P. Shackleford. Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
  29. ^ Jim DeMint Criticized Over Comments on Gay and Sexually Active Teachers. By Brian Montopoli. CBS News, Political Hotsheet. October 5, 2010 2:04 PM.
  30. ^ DeMint defends 'no gay teachers'. UPI. Published: October 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM
  31. ^ Clements criticizes DeMint on gay teacher issue: Opponent for Senate blasts incumbent for stance on who is fit to teach. By Jason Spencer. Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
  32. ^ "Endorsements - Politics". Sierra Club. Archived from the original on January 16, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  33. ^ "Unions Endorse US Senate Green Party Candidate Tom Clements". Scblacknews.com. July 15, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  34. ^ "FoE Action". Action.foe.org. Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  35. ^ "National Rifle Association | Political Victory Fund | NRA-PVF Endorses Jim DeMint for U.S. Senate in South Carolina". Nrapvf.org. September 24, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  36. ^ Illegal Immigration: Americans Fighting Back. "ALIPAC - ALIPAC 2010 Endorsements for US Congress and Senate". Alipac.us. Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  37. ^ "Rock Hill Herald: Tom Clements for US Senate: Green Party candidate Tom Clements offers a viable alternative in this race. October 30, 2010". Heraldonline.com. Archived from the original on January 6, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  38. ^ "OPINION: Spratt, Clyburn, DeMint deserve reelection". SCNOW. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  39. ^ "Re-elect fiscal hawk DeMint | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment". Postandcourier.com. October 29, 2010. Retrieved January 24, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Senate". Cook Political Report. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  41. ^ "Senate Ratings". Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  42. ^ "Battle for the Senate". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  43. ^ "2010 Senate Ratings". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  44. ^ "Race Ratings Chart: Senate". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on October 28, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  45. ^ "Catherine H" (PDF). Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  46. ^ "2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for South Carolina". fec.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2010.[permanent dead link]. Next F.E.C. reports are due October 15, 2010.
  47. ^ "SC - Election Results". www.enr-scvotes.org.

External links[edit]

Official campaign websites (Archived)