Some of the Lowcountry’s Democratic leaders are coming to U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Alvin Greene’s defense. State Representative Wendell Gilliard and Senator Robert Ford, both African American Democrats from Charleston, are speaking out in defense for Alvin Greene for the criticism he is receiving from all sides. Ford, who lost the gubernatorial Democratic primary in June, told Charleston’s WWWZ he’s behind Greene and Greene has his vote.
I think we ought to try and treat him a little better because of the fact that he made his point, he ran, he put up $10,000, voters voted for him, and give him a break. We as people also send out a bad signal. Remember now, it was an African American congressman who jumped on the man and said ‘Oh, somebody put him up to run.’ Who’s gonna put him up to run against one of the most powerful men in South Carolina’s history, that’s DeMint.
Ford and Gilliard both say a recent situation at Riley Ballpark in Charleston, where the minor league baseball team Charleston RiverDogs play, was not appropriate.
“At Riley Ballpark the other day, that was disgraceful,” says Gilliard.
Gilliard says it was disrespectful how RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols took male golden Statue of Liberty figures and pasted print-outs of Greene’s face on them. At Saturday night’s game, the first 1,000 fans received one of these statues, that Echols says was just meant to “poke fun.” Poke fun of Greene for saying he wanted to create jobs by making action figures of himself. Echols says no malice was intended.
“I’m not 100 percent sure what their comment about disgraceful is, but everybody has their own opinion ever year about RiverDog promotions every year. We didn’t receive a whole lot of negative feedback from it, a lot of our fans took it as a typical RiverDogs promotion where we pushed the envelope a little bit,” says Echols.
Gilliard says once they heard about the promotion a few days before, they wanted to stop Echols from going through with it.
“All me and Senator Ford was asking him to do a couple of days ago was don’t do it,” says Gilliard. “We warned him, don’t do it,” says Ford. “Just don’t do it to this young man. Whether you like it or not, he’s a veteran. He served his country,” says Gilliard.
But, the RiverDogs went through with the promotion at Saturday night’s game. Echols says it was just like any other Saturday night game. He explains why it was done: “The promotion was a staff brainstorm, coupled with current events. Mr. Greene certainly being a public figure, put himself in the spotlight with getting the Democratic nomination, and some of his comments have seemed a little off centered at times. Some of them seem right on. We took one that was a little off centered and we decided to have a RiverDog promotion around it.”
Echols says the promotion may have worked out for Greene anyway with all the national attention the unemployed veteran has received. But, Greene said the statue was not exactly what he was looking for.
“They could have done a better job than that. They could have just made a real characterture. A real figurine rather than just something tacky like that,” says Greene.
Ford says he will continue to stand behind Greene.
“You know, Alvin, I’m proud of the young man. Don’t make him a villain, make him a hero,” says Ford.
Greene will face GOP Senator Jim DeMint in November’s general election.