Gowdy Face the Nation Feb 4

Do you want this man's job? Well, get in line.

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, speaks with CBS' Face the Nation Sunday Feb. 4, 2018.

Job market got you down?

Having trouble finding that perfect second career — one that offers lucrative pay, attractive benefits, yet an undemanding schedule?

Well, have we got an opportunity for you.

An Upstate community is looking for an ambitious, outgoing person for a part-time position in the public sector. The job pays triple the national median household income, includes more than 200 days of vacation annually and all the rubber chicken you can eat.

Do you like to travel? Are you willing to cold-call strangers and ask them for money? Can you talk incessantly without saying a blessed thing? Are you open to compromise?

Well, can you at least claim as much on national TV?

If you answered yes to all those questions, or can lie about it semi-convincingly, then the people of the 4th District have a job for you. But act now, this is a limited-time offer.

Candidates must apply in person before noon on March 30. No experience or discernible skills required. The South Carolina 4th Congressional District is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

But it sure helps if you’re a Republican.

Jump in the line

Since Congressman Trey Gowdy announced his retirement, the parade of candidates lining up to replace him has looked like a scene out of Wagon Train.

So far, 11 Republicans have announced their intention to campaign for the seat — including former state Sen. Lee Bright, the man who brought you the transgender bathroom bill.

It’s not a party until Bright shows up to raffle off an AR-15. Which he did in his failed 2014 bid for the U.S. Senate.

This overabundance of candidates is not unusual; it happens every time there’s an open seat in Congress. Where else can you make $174,000 a year, have a 14 percent job approval rating yet a 90 percent chance of winning re-election?

The difference this year is that, in addition to 11 (and counting) GOP candidates, there are six Democrats who say they’re going to run.

What, do they think this is Pennsylvania?

It seems that recent victories in tough races have convinced Democrats they can compete anywhere. After all, Conor Lamb apparently eked out a win in a U.S. House district around Pittsburgh that President Trump carried by 20 points.

Sorry, that won’t happen here. The 4th District was Republican when Republicans didn’t have their own TV channel. This is, after all, the seat once held by Carroll Campbell, Bob Inglis and Jim DeMint.

And Trump won the 4th by 26 points.

The Cook Political Report isn’t predicting even an outside chance of Dems flipping any seats in South Carolina this year.

But if they did, it wouldn’t be this one.

Look south, and east

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Democrats may be optimistic about the 4th because Gowdy has recently strayed from the flock.

Last week, he disputed the House Intelligence Committee’s claim that it found no evidence of Russia interfering in the 2016 election. Gowdy sided with the CIA, saying it was clear those boys in Moscow wanted Hillary Clinton to lose.

This, from the guy who brought you Benghazi.

Don’t read too much into that, however. Gowdy, free from the burden of facing voters again, simply doesn’t have to parrot the party line — no matter how ridiculous.

But perhaps Democrats should take comfort from similarly disloyal statements made by Congressman Mark Sanford — including his criticism of this Stormy Daniels controversy.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with tropical weather systems.

Trump won Sanford's district by less than 11 points. That's within wave-election striking distance.

Perhaps there's nothing to see here. Sanford has always had an independent streak, and often goes off-message. But Democrats could reasonably conclude he's maneuvering in an increasingly diverse district.

The 1st District is the Democrats' best hope for an upset win in South Carolina. Trump carried Columbia's 2nd District by 15 points and Myrtle Beach's 7th District by nearly 19. The president won Rock Hill's 5th District by nearly 18 points and in the 3rd District ... well, there were two or three people who voted for Clinton.

In other words, this may be a Democratic wave election, but it would take a tsunami to break through in South Carolina.

Still, competition is good, so it's nice to see the Dems actually field candidates this year — something they've often failed to do regularly in the past decade.

Perhaps the Democrats have finally learned that you can't get hired if you don't apply.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.

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