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Republicans in the state used almost identical words about the Greene mystery, a uniformity that would be believable only if it came in the form of talking points from the Republican National Committee.

“I am absolutely convinced it is all about alphabetical listing,” said former Spartanburg, S.C., County Chairman Rick Beltram. “Neither of the people running was known. People just went in and hit the first name - the alphabetical name. We’ve seen the same thing in Republican primaries where there were four or five unknown candidates.”

Mr. Beltram, like virtually every other Republican addressing the situation on Monday, knew exactly where to place the blame.

“I blame the Democratic state chairman for not doing a background check on Greene before signing off on his application for candidacy,” said Mr. Beltram. “Lazy chairmen will tell you it’s not their job, but [Fowler] should have held up filing him until she did a background check and found out that as a felon he wasn’t qualified.

And the beat goes on in a state where Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, a state representative, overcame allegations of adultery and is now expected to win the primary runoff to succeed disgraced Gov. Mark Sanford.

c This article is based in part on wire service reports.