HICKS COLUMN: Race is on for seat in Congress
It's a good thing Paul Thurmond isn't running for Tim Scott's seat in Congress — 22 Republicans on the ballot would just be ridiculous.
Now, if we could only get 18 or 19 of the others to have similar moments of clarity.
But don't count on it.
Jim DeMint's decision to quit his Senate job has set off a stampede that is going to cost the state nearly $1 million and subject us to almost five months of campaign ads.
See, Gov. Nikki Haley appointed 1st District Rep. Scott to fill DeMint's Senate seat, which means we have to elect a new congressman. And anytime there's an open seat in Congress it's like ringing the dinner bell.
And this is a particularly appetizing opportunity.
So don't count on a whole lot of other people following Thurmond's sage lead and dropping out.
The wild west
Being a congressman is just about the best job in politics.
The pay is pretty good — $174,000. The health care and pension benefits are great — well, better than Congress wants you to have anyway. And you get your ego stroked daily in Washington, maybe even get invited on Fox or “Hardball” now and then.
Although Congress has an approval rating somewhere south of the bubonic plague, literally in the teens, incumbents are re-elected more than 90 percent of the time. This paradox has something to do with low-information voters actually believing Congress' dysfunction is the fault of the other 434 guys.
Which is hilarious.
So since it's nearly impossible to defeat a sitting member of Congress, an open seat sets off gold fever among politicos.
And the stakes are higher right now because this is not a regular election year, which means sitting officials can run without having to give up their other gig.
That's why Robert Behre's list of potential candidates in The Post and Courier this week included 10 people who currently hold public office.
There's no risk — if you can get someone to pay for your campaign.
And there's the rub.
There won't be 21 Republicans on the ballot this March.
When Henry Brown retired in 2010, a staggering field of nine candidates fought to take his place, and most of them didn't garner a single percentage point at the polls.
This time we may see that many on the ballot, perhaps even a few more. But a lot of these people are throwing their names out there to see if they can raise the money to run.
Many won't be able to secure enough pledges to pay their $3,000 filing fee, and they will slink away.
Charleston County Republican Party Chairwoman Lin Bennett has nothing to do with this — it's a state party thing — but she is advising potential candidates to “give it serious thought” before jumping in.
That's good advice. Because right now, a lot of these potential candidates are listening to their egos — and egos can cost you a lot of money and heartache.
And really gum up the ballot.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @BriHicks_ PandC.