Politics & Government

How is SC’s 5th District race like House of Cards?

If the number of competitive, highly-watched special elections this year weren’t enough to attract attention to the special election for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th District, there’s also the district’s connection to a binge-worthy TV show.

The 5th District is the home base of Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood on “House of Cards,” and Democratic candidate Archie Parnell takes advantage of the fact in a new video where the candidate basically does his best Underwood impersonation.

“Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock with your left,” Parnell says in the ad, one of several Underwood lines delivered in a series of shots that mirror the Netflix series.

Much of the video is played for comedic effect. Right after Parnell tells us “sleep is for the weak,” you hear his wife calling him to bed because “it’s almost 9 p.m.”

Others are meant to send a more political message.

“The president of the United States fired the FBI director,” he says, then adds, “That actually happened, it’s not on the show.”

The video was timed to coincide with the release of the show’s new season on Tuesday.

What you think of the 90-minute clip might depend on how much of a “House of Cards” fan you are. The National Republican Congressional Committee highlighted the ad as a “really weird” attempt to connect the candidate to a character who “steals, kills, and manipulates his way into the White House.”

“Based on the imagery in the video, it looks like Archie Parnell is running to be DC’s congressman, not South Carolina’s,” said NRCC press secretary Maddie Anderson.

Parnell faces Republican Ralph Norman in the June 20 special election for the seat formerly held not by Underwood, but by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.