The 2014 gubernatorial election in South Carolina has only started to heat up just recently, but S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope – a “Republican” from Rock Hill, S.C. – is already eyeing the next race.

Pope – a former solicitor – told WRHI AM 1340 that he wants to be the Republican gubernatorial nominee in 2018. In fact he’s already posting “Pope for Governor” logos on his Facebook page … sort of the political equivalent of a premature … ehh … hmmmm … nevermind.

“What I hope to bring more than anything (to the race) is caring about issues bigger than ourselves,” Pope told the station. “I love this state, I love the people, I love our natural resources. If the voters are willing at that time, it would be an honor. It would be a sacrifice for the Pope family but it’d be an honor.”

Great … another politician who’ll “sacrifice” for the “honor” of “caring” for “the people.”

Seriously … that’s like the grand slam of self-important cliche-pandering.

Pope would enter the race as a second tier candidate …

The top tier? As of this writing, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Henry McMaster and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) director Catherine Templeton are the names we hear mentioned most often.