COPY-Green Party candidate for sen. steps forward as Ketner ends independent run

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A Charleston businesswoman considering an independent Senate run in South Carolina says she doesn't have time to put together a strong campaign. Meanwhile, a member of the Green Party has stepped forward to take on Sen. Jim DeMint and Democratic nominee Alvin Greene in November.

Linda Ketner posted a message to her website Monday asking supporters to stop their petition drive to get her on the November ballot. Ketner says 3.5 months isn't enough time to successfully challenge Republican Sen. Jim DeMint as he seeks a second term.

The drive started after 32-year-old unemployed Army veteran Alvin Greene won the Democratic primary without campaigning against an opponent who had the full backing of the party.

But as Ketner backs out, Green Party candidate Tom Clements is encouraging her supporters to take a look at his campaign.

"Now that Ms. Ketner has decided not to run, this gives the green light to disaffected Democrats, Republican and independents to unify behind my campaign," Clements said. "I pledge not only to take into close consideration the concerns of Ketner supporters, but also the views of voters across the political spectrum."

Clements is the Southeastern Nuclear Campaign Coordinator for the U.S. branch of Friends of the Earth in Columbia. He also worked for 13 years with the Greenpeace International nuclear campaign and for three years as executive director of the Nuclear Control Institute in Washington, DC.

"My campaign will now laser in on Mr. DeMint and that he has failed to properly represent all South Carolinians while helping create a destructive climate in Washington that has harmed us all," continued Clements.

Clements has been approved by the state Election Commission and will appear at the top of the ballot on November 2. He has also filed papers with the Federal Election Commission in advance of the legal requirement to do so.

Copyright 2010 WIS. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.