Published in Free Times
By Corey Hutchins
You might not have heard about retired civil servant Eugene Platt. He's the Green Party's septuagenarian nominee in South Carolina's celebrity 1st District Congressional race that features Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Mark Sanford, who won his Republican runoff tonight.
Platt hasn't gotten as much attention. Some reporters and pundits don't even mention him when discussing the race. But he's also been keeping something of a low profile until the runoff, he says. And while he's not predicting a win for the Green Party in the general election against the two corporate-party candidates - his words - he is somewhat confident.
“I think after tonight, starting tomorrow, when people realize precisely what the choices are, there will be -- I won't say a groundswell -- but there will be some increased momentum,” he says. “I'm not predicting a win; I'm just predicting I will not be embarrassed.”
Free Times caught up with Platt shortly after The Associated Press called the GOP runoff for Sanford earlier this evening. He says it's shaping up to be an interesting race.
“The Appalachian Trail hiker, a comedian's sister, and a published poet former paratrooper,” he joked.
An elected member of the James Island Public Service District Commission since 1993, Platt showcases some of his poetry on his website. He's the only elected Green Party candidate in public office in South Carolina.
As for a campaign strategy against the two heavily funded major-party challengers, Platt says he won't go out trying to raise money to compete.
“I just think that with Congress's approval rating at an all-time low that there will be enough people that will … click on none-of-the-above,” he says. “And the none-of-the-above means [the] Green Party candidate and I just think I'll benefit from that.”
That doesn't mean he's not going to get out in the district and make some noise. He'll try to get interviews in newspapers, spend some time talking to voters.
“I'm likely to be the only one of the three that will say unequivocally about Obamacare that it does not go nearly far enough,” he says. He advocates a single-payer approach to health care.
He'll also campaign as an anti-war candidate.
“How can we possibly have a healthy economy when we're spending billions on military misadventures abroad,” he says. He calls the invasion of Iraq one of the worst blunders in American history.
“We've sent Democrats and Republicans in various configurations to Washington and essentially nothing changes,” Platt says. “Let's send a lot of independents and third-party candidates to Washington. We couldn't do any worse.”