Welcome, distinguished guests

Donald Trump speaks to the State Financial Officers 2015 Spring National meeting being held in downtown Charleston. (Brad Nettles/Staff)

They started showing up long before spring sprang. And though wanna-be presidents are predictably pushy, likening them to the rising tides of gnats in these parts would violate our esteemed reputation for gentility.

Such a harsh analogy also would risk insulting our next president while overlooking the positive impact of swarming White House hopefuls on our state’s economy, which after all, depends on tourism dollars.

Ponder, for instance, Sunday’s New York Times revelation that Hillary Clinton’s supporters and “outside super PACs” are “looking to raise as much as $2.5 billion in a blitz of donations.”

Yes, Mrs. Clinton, who made her candidacy official last Sunday, is a heavy favorite to win the 2016 Democratic nomination, and thus might not have to devote much attention — or resources — to this state. Then again, she was supposedly a cinch for the 2008 nomination before losing it to Barack Obama, who routed her by 55-27 percent in the S.C. primary.

And if (listed herein alphabetical order) Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, Elizabeth Warren, Jim Webb and/or some other Democrat challenges Mrs. Clinton, we might frequently see them — and the former secretary of state — over the next 10 months.

Or perhaps you prefer someone from an emerging Republican field so crowded that it could soon include not only our long-shot senior Sen. Lindsey Graham but billionaire braggart “The Donald” Trump, who spoke at two functions here Monday.

Some other possible GOP contenders who have dropped in on South Carolina at least once this year: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.

They’re all seeking S.C. votes in an early-showdown primary next February. Just don’t count on many presidential candidates coming our way from then until Nov. 8, 2016.

Republicans have learned to regard our electoral votes as a sure thing while Democrats have written them off as a lost cause. After all, the GOP White House nominee has won South Carolina in nine straight general elections, with the average margin over the last four contests a whopping 13 percentage points.

So instead of viewing the ongoing politician proliferation in our state as a minus, behold the plus of being able to assess them on an up-close-and-personal basis.

This isn’t an ordeal to endure. It’s an opportunity to enlighten yourself about those who seek our nation’s highest political office.

And again, even if you don’t detect a suitable Oval Office occupant in our midst, remember that presidential aspirants won’t just spend considerable time here over the next 10 months.

They’ll spend lots of money, too.