Columbia, SC - An anonymous email sent to Governor Mark Sanford's office offers a tantalizing clue to the unexpected primary victory of an virtually unknown canidiate in the recent South Carolina Democratic primary. The email to the Governor, which arrived Saturday said in part, "Dude, I'm sorry I screwed up your election. I was just kidding around."
The controversy started when Democratic canidiate Alvin Greene, an unemployed military veteran who raised no funds and put up no campaign website, won the Democratic Party Primary for Senator. Greene's primary victory shocked South Carolina's Democratic Party leadership by capturing the nomination to face Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in November. Greene, 32, commanded 59 percent of the vote against 41 percent for former four-term state lawmaker Vic Rawl, 64, who had raised about $186,000 and had to abruptly scrap a late-week fundraiser for the fall election.
Following the primary, stunned South Carolina officials scrambled to explain how Greene, a man with no political party connections and no money, could circumvent such a well oiled political machine. One county Democratic Party chairman noted that, "What's the use of gaming the system, creating false and slanderous whisper campaigns against our opponents and getting the dead to the polls if some kid can just short circuit the whole process."
How Greene managed to win was revealed in the email, the entire text of which was released by the Governor's office. In it the young writer says he hacked the state's election computers during lunch period on a dare from a middle school classmate. "Dude, I know I shouldn't have done it, but Jimmy dared me and that cute cheerleader was watching. I couldn't back down. You know how it is. Besides, my XBox has more built in security than your computer system. That's why teachers make us take our test with pencil and paper. So really, Dude, this is all your fault."
State Police investigators tracked the email back to a web server in Kosice, Slovakia. A computer expert employed by the server company there said it appeared the email had been bounced off several communication satellites first and that it would probably be impossible to determine who sent it or where the email originated from.
South Carolina Democratic Party spokesman Harry Oxnard noted that he'd like to get his hand on the student who sent the email and caused so many problems. "Personally," he said, "I'd like to offer the kid a job."