In 1990 Republican campaign consultant Rod Shealy paid an unemployed black man to run as a Democratic candidate for congress, and specifically to generate improved white voter turnout to aid other GOP candidates. After the primary, in which the Democrat was uncontested in a race perceived to be unwinnable against the Republican incumbent, it was leaked that the candidate had recently been arrested for drug possession. Shealy was convicted for the antic two years later, but of only a misdemeanor offense with just a $500 fine.
Twenty years later, South Carolina voters suffered through a near-identical circumstance that made national news. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint had been labeled one of four most at-risk incumbents in that election cycle, and was anticipated to face a well-known Democratic challenger. Along came an unknown, unemployed Alvin Greene, who won a Democratic primary that had almost twice the anticipated turnout. And Greene's recent arrest for obscenity charges got leaked to media one day after his mysterious primary win.
For over 40 years has Ben Frasier run for various offices as a Democrat, and even though he himself told press "I think I'd be more welcome in the Republican Party." Using race as a primary issue of his campaign, African-American Frasier has accused primary opponents of discrimination, once even claiming he was kidnapped by another Democrat's campaign staff. After he loses the primaries (which he's done every time except for the same Alvin Greene year of 2010), he frequently endorses the opposing Republicans.
This trick is becoming the latest trend in other states, too. Wisconsin's special elections in 2012 featured Republicans running as Democrats; the state's GOP openly admitted it , too. That same year in Tennessee, Tea Party member Mark Clayton crashed the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The state's Democratic Party formally disavowed Clayton, and due to his campaign's apparent intent to protect the Republican incumbent.
Where To From Here?
This much I know: Stamper isn't any Democrat, but only some Rand Paul wannabe, mixing a strange concoction of Libertarian and Tea Party that he's still trying to keep closeted at the moment.
What I can't figure out, though, is if he's running as a Democrat because he thinks it's an easier route than the crowded Republican primary, or if Stamper is only trying to aid other Republican campaigns. I can picture him addressing liberal Democrats after he loses the primary in June, encouraging them to stay home for November's Election Day when he won't be on the ballots.
I suggest Stamper contact Robert Dobbs for advice. In 2010 Dobbs tried the same route -- a recent move from another state who tried to run as Democrat before his Republican/Libertarian past came out. After we called him out, Dobbs tried a last-minute detour as a Green Party candidate, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, all you non-Republicans in South Carolina, be prepared for the June 10 primary. And be prepared to vote for actual Democrats, not pseudo-Dems like Karen Smith in the 6th District race -- and certainly not Jay Stamper.