Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Alvin Greene

I feel now like I am trying to solve a Sherlock Holmes mystery.   Between my earlier piece on the county voter breakdown, the FiveThirtyEight and the Politico story (which I admit added more depth then I had.  But hey, they are politico, and that was my 3rd day blogging) we can piece together a very good picture of what the numbers were.

  1. From FiveThirtyEight we see that Greene did NOT win for racial reasons.  While there was a slight correlation between between his vote share and the demographics of the region, it is nowhere near significant enough to explain what happened.  The difference in the percentage of the vote he won between the whitest county (Under 10% African American) and the blackest county (over 70% African American) is under 10%.
  2. I found that he seemed to win everywhere by a large margin, winning 2/3 of the counties by 20 points or more.  Out of the 46 counties, he only lost 4, and by under 10%.
  3. From Politico we found that there was a discrepancy between the absentee ballots and the election day ballots by over 10%

Politico also reported that in Spartanburg county, there were precincts with more votes for Greene then total votes cast.

So as far as I can see, there are 4 possible reasons for Greene winning, before looking at the evidence that is

  1. He was a Republican plant, and had a huge swell of republicans crossing for the primary to get him in
  2. He won due to name placement and racial voting
  3. There was a mistake with the electronic ballot software
  4. He won fair and square

However, after  looking at the facts, none of these fit

  1. The republican plant theory has two things going for it, first how the hell did he get elected?  Second, Where did he get the filing money?  There is could not be that much motive to get him on the democratic ticket.  Senator DeMint is going to steamroll whoever he runs against.  The only 2 possible reasons for Republicans wanting to get Greene on the ticket would be if they knew that a major scandal was about to break and needed a candidate that even democrats wouldnt vote for, or if they wanted a democratic straw man to take down the entire ticket, similar to what is happening in Nevada with Angle or what would have happened in California if Orly Taitz had been nominated.   However, even with motive, there is no way this could have happened.  If he was a republican plant, there would be a higher turnout in republican leaning districts, stacking the vote in his favor.   Instead he won across the board.  The only county with a huge swell of turnout is a very very blue district.  And even if the numerical evidence had been there, could you imagine in this day and age some idiot not tweeting about it?  I cant imagine conspiracy by a group of 30k+ voters that would not leak right away
  2. Small things like name placement and racial voting could tilt the odds in a tight election.  However, a quick look at the democratic primary ballot would rule out any advantage of going first.  Mr. Greene was followed by Veteran, while Rawl was given “Councilman, Ex-Circuit Court Judge, Ex-State
    Rep., and Retired National Guard Officer”.  Most people voting blind would tend to side with the better resume.  The racial reasoning has been ruled out, because Greene performed almost as well in white counties as he did in black ones (see fivethirtyeight reference above)
  3. A computer error with the voting software would have been possible.  Electronic polling has been suspect for a while, and it would not surprise me if there was eventually an error with it.  However, what are the chances that the election with the freak computer failure, would also feature the most incompetent candidate with a shady financial background involving his filing money?  It seems to fantastic to be true
  4. He won fair and square?  Ya right.  He had no financial backing, no experience, no infrastructure, no name, and no job, yet somehow he managed to demolish an opponent who had all of those in almost every single county in the state?  For a more detailed explanation, on why this couldnt happen, see my earlier piece, The Greene Mystery

So nothing seems to make sense, and it seems to me, that when a mystery doesn’t make sense, you should open up a copy of the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and try and figure out how Sherlock Holmes might solve this.  Most likely he would notice some mud on a shoe, and then set an elaborate trap to catch the culprits.   But being that we don’t have a Holmes anymore, the investigation by the South Carolina Election Commission will have to do.

For further stories on Alvin Green at Comments from Left Field Please see the following

By the way, I was going to write myself a little introduction today, but isn’t this story so much cooler?

EDIT

Apparently Rawl had extremely high unfavorables with those that knew his name.  It is possible that that is the reason that he won.  However, there have been some other developments as well, including Benford’s Law (whether numbers were made up or not) suggesting that the numbers may in fact have been made up…

Also, I need to get my statistical analysis up to par with the high end mathematical community out there

One Response to “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of Alvin Greene”

  1. Justin says:

    Go read Brad Blog on this subject…

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