United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2010

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United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2010

← 2004 November 2, 2010 2014 →
  Jim DeMint headshot.jpg AlvinGreene1.jpg
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%

South Carolina Senatorial Election Results by County, 2010.svg
County results

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 along with other elections to the United States Senate in other states, as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Jim DeMint won re-election to a second term. Alvin Greene, the Democratic nominee, was the first major-party African-American U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina since Reconstruction.

Democratic primary



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

Republican primary


  • 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

General election


  • Tom Clements (Green), environmental activist and Southeast Director Friends of the Earth[3]
  • Jim DeMint (Republican), incumbent U.S. Senator
  • Alvin Greene (Democratic), U.S. Army service military veteran
  • Nathalie Dupree (Independent, write-in), Chef
  • Mazie Ferguson (Democratic, write-in), attorney, civil rights activist, and ordained Baptist minister
  • Greg Snoad (Independent, write-in), teacher at Mauldin High School (government, economics, and history) for 25 years, and former Gray Court town councilman
  • Michael C Neumann (Republican, write-in), civilian contractor, spent 5 years serving U.S. troops in Iraq/Kuwait[citation needed]


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 that "In only two of 88 precincts, do the number of votes Greene got plus the number we got equal the total cast."[4]

U.S. Congressman James Clyburn recommended Greene drop out of the race or he would face a federal investigation into his candidacy – even as he faces 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."[5] Political blog FiveThirtyEight's Tom Schaller suggests 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.[6]

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.[7] Although the national media and Rasmussen Reports typically do not include Clements in their coverage of the race, the Clements campaign has 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".[8] A Winthrop University poll conducted between October 5 and 10 of 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.[9][10] An October 13 article in the Columbia Free Times noted that prominent Democrats were privately donating money to the Clements campaign.[11] 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.[12]

Write-in candidates also joined the race, including the Reverend Mazie Ferguson,[13] Mauldin High School teacher Greg Snoad,[14][15][16] Michael C Neumann citing the disparity between the direction the government is headed and the will of the people, and chef Nathalie Dupree,[17] who insists that DeMint is spending too much time campaigning in other states, while Greene is 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.[18]

Jim DeMint largely campaigned outside South Carolina for Republican Senate candidates identified with the Tea Party.[19] Diverse media outlets have frequently referred to DeMint as a party "kingmaker" for supporting successful primary challengers to mainstream Republican candidates.[20][21][22]

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.[23][24][25] 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.” [26]

The remarks attracted national media attention, largely critical.[27] DeMint defended the statements, saying that local school boards should decide the issue.[28] 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.”[29]


Organization endorsements

Tom Clements:

Jim DeMint

Newspaper endorsements

Tom Clements:

  • Rock Hill Herald [35]

Jim DeMint:

  • Florence Morning News [36]
  • Charleston Post and Courier [37]


Source Ranking As of
Cook Political Report Solid R[38] October 8, 2010
Rothenberg Safe R[39] October 1, 2010
Real Clear Politics Safe R[40]
Sabato's Crystal Ball Safe R[41] September 30, 2010
CQ Politics Safe R[42] October 8, 2010


Poll source Dates administered Jim DeMint (R) Alvin Greene (D) Tom Clements (G) Other Undecided
Rasmussen Reports October 19, 2010 58% 21% –– 15% 6%
Winthrop University October 5–10, 2010 58% 11% 12%[43] 3% 14%
Crantford & Associates October 2, 2010 58% 21% –– 10% 5%
Rasmussen Reports September 22, 2010 64% 21% –– 10% 5%
Rasmussen Reports August 25, 2010 63% 19% –– 8% 10%
Rasmussen Reports August 3, 2010 62% 20% –– 7% 10%
Rasmussen Reports June 10, 2010 58% 21% –– 9% 13%


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[44]


United States Senate election in South Carolina, 2010[45]
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. Retrieved 2011-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "South Carolina Senate Primary Results". Politico. June 8, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 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.
  4. David Catanese (2010-06-11). "Experts review S.C. Senate ballots". Politico.Com. Retrieved 2010-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  6. Schaller, Tom. "Politics Done Right: SC Democratic Primary Getting Weirder By The Hour". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2010-06-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. SC Black News Staff Writer (15 July 2010). "Unions Endorse US Senate Green Party Candidate Tom Clements". SCBlacknews.com. Retrieved 2010-07-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 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.
  9. Winthrop Poll Shows Haley Ahead and Other Opinions by S.C. Voters Winthrop Poll, October 13, 2010
  10. Winthrop Poll Shows Haley Ahead and Other Opinions by S.C. Voters Winthrop Poll Questions and Answers. Page 2. October 13, 2010
  11. Democrats Step Out for Clements — Quietly. By Corey Hutchins. Columbia Free Times. Issue #23.41 :: 10/13/2010 - 10/19/2010
  12. 2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for South Carolina All Senate Candidates -- SC
  13. James Gilbert (August 9, 2010). "Write-In Candidate to Challenge DeMint, Greene, Clements". WTLX.com. Retrieved 2010-08-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. CNN (September 6, 2010). "New Candidate in South Carolina Race?". CNN.com. Retrieved 2010-09-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. WYFF4.com (2010-09-06). "Gray Court Man Jumps Into Senate Race". wyff4.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Mauldin High School. "Welcome to Mauldin High School".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  18. "Clyburn won't vote for Dem nominee in Senate race". The Associated Press. 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2010-08-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. DeMint Transfers Campaign Money to State Republicans. By David M. Drucker, CQ-Roll Call. CQ POLITICS NEWS. Oct. 18, 2010 – 1:20 p.m.
  20. Jim DeMint: Call him the kingmaker. S.C.'s DeMint a star on the rise. By James Rosen. McClatchy Newspapers, Washington Bureau. Sunday, Sep. 19, 2010.
  21. 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 has emerged as an even bigger force. By Lisa Lerer. Bloomberg News. SPECIAL REPORT September 16, 2010, 4:36PM EST.
  22. Jim DeMint: Conservative 'Kingmaker' or Inside-the-Beltway Interloper? Matt Lewis, Columnist. Politics Daily. May 25, 2010.
  23. Tenenbaum, DeMint exchange unpleasantries on social security, taxes, gay teachers. WISTV. Associated Press. Oct 4, 2004.
  24. 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.
  25. Sen. Jim DeMint: Gays And Unmarried, Pregnant Women Should Not Teach Public School. Amanda Turkel. Huffington Post. October 2, 2010.
  26. DeMint addresses conservative issues at Spartanburg church rally. By Lynne P. Shackleford. Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
  27. Jim DeMint Criticized Over Comments on Gay and Sexually Active Teachers. By Brian Montopoli. CBS News, Political Hotsheet. October 5, 2010 2:04 PM.
  28. DeMint defends 'no gay teachers'. UPI. Published: Oct. 5, 2010 at 1:46 PM
  29. 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.
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  35. "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. Retrieved 2011-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  43. "Catherine H" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-01-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "2010 House and Senate Campaign Finance for South Carolina". fec.gov. Retrieved October 18, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. Next F.E.C. reports are due October 15, 2010.
  45. SC - Election Results

External links

Official campaign websites