Senate Candidate Analysis: Richard Cash

Richard Cash for Senate

Several months ago I posted on what we need in an effective Graham challenger. Now that the field of candidates has shaped up pretty well, I’m going to start analyzing them according to the criteria in that post.

Richard Cash was the first candidate to declare, so I’m going to start with him.

1. Prior political victories – “F”

Although Cash has been touted as “a proven winner,” he has never been elected before. When he ran for Congress back in 2010, he finished first in the primary, before being defeated by Jeff Duncan in the runoff.

That said, he does have name recognition in the upstate and he knows how to build a powerful grassroots campaign. Those of us who watched him last time around agree that his public speaking and personal campaigning skills have greatly increased.

However, once in, you actually have to serve, and that’s where I think his lack of previous victories is a problem. Based on our conversations with Mr. Cash, he doesn’t have a strong policy foundation.

Too frequently, his answer to policy questions is that he needs to study it out. When you have a solid grasp of the principles of good government, that’s not going to be your answer to the Edward Snowden issue. To one question posed by a friend of mine, he replied that he would have policy advisers who would help him know how to vote. My friend’s response was that we wouldn’t be voting for his policy advisers, we’d be voting for him.

This underlines the concern I have with his lack of legislative experience: we don’t really know what we’re getting in the absence of a prior voting record. I believe Cash is a true conservative, as much as he understands conservatism. But I am concerned that he doesn’t know what conservatism looks like once it actually becomes policy.

2. Broad support base – “B”

Cash, as I mentioned, knows how to build a strong grassroots campaign. It’s really impressive to watch them in action. His name recognition in the upstate is pretty high, and I have no doubt he will do well up here.

One important factor is that while all of the candidates claim to be Christians, he is the one who wears it the most on his sleeve. The main thrust of his campaign is the need to turn America back to God. That’s all well and good, but we’re electing a Senator, not a pastor, and we need to know how he’s going to vote.

Unfortunately, his weakness on the policy side makes him look like a lightweight Bible-thumper and that doesn’t have a lot of appeal beyond the  homeschooler/Fundamental Baptist circle. I’m not sure exactly how it will play out. These are just my concerns based on past experience and observation.

That said, I’ve been surprised at the people who are supporting him. It does seem that his appeal is broader than one might think at first glance. How broad is it? I don’t really know.

P.S. While I agree that our nation needs to turn back to God, I don’t think a Senate seat is going to help a whole lot with that. But that’s another post for another day.

3. Enemies – “A+”

Cash gets an A+ on this one. I may disagree with him sometimes, but he’s not afraid to stand on what he believes and has no use for political correctness.

One thing I really appreciate is that he doesn’t try to sound like he appreciates Graham’s “service to his country” or sound apologetic for running against him. And he certainly doesn’t mince words about Graham’s liberal votes and positions.

This refreshing boldness is exactly what we need in our politicians, and it will definitely make him all the right enemies.

4. Fundraising ability – “C”

This graphic would seem to speak for itself:

Richard Cash Fundraising Image

This image was shared on the Cash campaign’s Facebook page on February 16th with the following status:

Thanks again to everyone who donated to our campaign! Graham is trying to pass himself off as a conservative, so we need your help to let people know about his true record: Voted for judicial activists Sotomayor & Kagan, Grahamnesty, the War in Syria, support for NSA spying and more. Donate today!

The ugly detail this graphic fails to tell you is that Cash contributed about $200,000 of his own money to his campaign. Note how careful he is to tell you about Connor, but doesn’t bother mentioning that he’s in the exact same boat. Honesty and ethics, anyone?

The integrity issue aside, all the candidates appear to be struggling (with the exception of Mace) as far as actual fundraising goes. Cash hasn’t raised much at all, especially when you compare it to Graham’s $7 million.

5. Humility – “C”

I should state first off that I can’t see anyone’s heart. The type of humility I’m looking for is the type that displays itself in certain actions (I go into it all in detail here). And I’ve seen both encouraging and concerning things from Cash on this one.

I have really, really appreciated how he’s refrained from attacking the other candidates. In the recent debate at the Tea Party Convention, all the candidates (except Mace) praised each other and reserved their fire for Graham. I can’t emphasize how important this is since infighting turns off the votes we need to force a runoff.

However, I have been concerned at how the races Cash has gone for are the front-line high-profile races. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the tendency to seek the front ranks can often (quite unconsciously) be glory-seeking. It takes a special kind of humility to take the insignificant roles that are just as necessary and leave the front lines to someone else.

It also takes a special kind of humility to realize that training and experience is needed in politics just as it is in any other profession, and often you really need to start small and work your way up. Again, his motives may be completely pure. I can’t see his heart. But these things are concerning to me.

A friend of mine contacted Cash early on asking him not to run, due to a number of concerns she had regarding his candidacy. While he was very polite, her concerns fell on deaf ears.

You may say that’s natural, but I spoke with another candidate who was very alive to the possibility that he might not be the best for the role and who really didn’t seem to care who took the role, as long as someone good gave Graham the boot. That’s humility. I’m afraid I haven’t seen that attitude in Cash.

6. A Clean Record – “A”

Another “A” for Cash here. From everything I’ve seen (and this is not his first campaign) he has no skeletons in his closet and appears to be morally “above reproach.” He appears to be an exemplary husband, father and Christian.

The only thing I can see being used against him is his involvement in Operation Rescue and multiple resulting imprisonments. However, his campaign wears this as a badge of honor and seems to be doing a good job controlling the narrative.

7. Fortitude and Endurance – “A+”

If there’s one thing I can say for Cash, it’s that when he makes up his mind to enter a race, he’s in it for the long haul. He is very persistent and persevering, and even if things get really tough for his campaign he’ll keep going as long as he possibly can.

A big part of that is undoubtedly the fact that his family will be behind him through thick and thin. Don’t look for that crowd to go weak-kneed the way Mrs. Herman Cain did – they’re homeschoolers and Operation Rescue activists. They were born and raised on the road less traveled and they’re united in their vision.

So this is definitely another “A+” for Cash.

Conclusion

Cash has a lot of strong points, and he’s grown a lot as a candidate and campaigner from the time he ran for Congress. He has some major points of concern as well; nothing that can’t be fixed, but not in time for this race.

Should those concerns keep you from voting for him? That’s a decision every voter will have to make. But here are a few things to consider:

  • The Senatorial terms are six years. That’s six years without recall if you get a bad apple!
  • Senators live in Washington pretty much year round, far removed from their constituency. (Much harder to stay grounded and harder for your constituents to influence you.)
  • It’s very difficult, when they are up for reelection, to find anyone to challenge an incumbent. That’s why Graham has served so long without serious challengers before now.
  • It’s even harder for a challenger to actually take out a sitting Senator.
  • Whoever occupies that seat is making some dead-serious decisions regarding our liberty.

For these reasons, I don’t think this is a seat to gamble with. And for these reasons, I personally don’t think Cash is the one for the job.

What do you think? Does Richard Cash meet the criteria?

7 Responses to “Senate Candidate Analysis: Richard Cash”

  1. Thank you, Hannah, I thought that was very carefully researched. I have met Richard Cash twice now (briefly) and I think your assessment is fairly spot on. One thing I’m not sure I would state quite the same way is regarding the “prior political victories”. I don’t quite see it as a failure to not have prior political victories, because I believe that people who are fresh and new to politics, IF they are of good moral fortitude and strong will, will actually have an advantage over people who are veteran politicians. This is why I believe in term limits– I believe we should have fresh people going in more frequently, as I believe they are more likely to remember they were elected to serve their people. See you in church!

    • Thanks so much, Mr. Jim! I completely agree that there’s a lot of benefit from electing political newbies. It’s a healthy tension between experience and new blood with an outsider perspective. For this particular office, though, I lean toward the experience being key, especially in light of Cash’s questionable philosophy of government.

      Of course, term limits would pretty much eradicate that problem, as you noted. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I’m a one issue voter first. If you do not tell me about your support for the Second Amendment I have no interest in what you have to say about anything else. When I first saw Richard’s website I looked under “Issues” and found he had not listed the Second Amendment as an issue. I sent him an e-mail to which he quickly responded; he tried to explain away why he did not list it as an issue but I did not buy his explanation. Like James, I do not care if he has prior experience or not but I know the reality is that it is a must at the Senate level. I would rate him much lower in Broad Base Support. His run against Duncan was pretty much equal in name recognition so voters took a chance on one. I concur on Fundraising; Many politicians have tried using their own money but it usually does not produce results. We aren’t to the point where you find out about enemies but that will come. He will only get my vote when there is no one else running against Graham. If Graham wins the primary I guess I will have to write-in, Alvin Green. Just kidding, just kidding.

    • Really interesting on the 2nd Amendment issue. Would you mind sharing what reason he gave for not having it on his site?

      The broad base of support issue is one of the ones I struggled with more, because it’s so hard to gauge. It’s really going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.

      I completely agree about using your own money when running for office. It’s not just the money: when people donate, that makes them die-hard supporters, which brings a host of other benefits. Plus, it’s a real indicator of traction. When Obama ran against Hillary, he was largely funded by small donations from people everywhere, and his campaign rightly interpreted that as a sign of real grassroots support.

      Oh man, I hope Graham won’t win, because I’m in the same boat with you about Alvin Green. LOL

  3. Under fundraising, you fail to mention that Cash gave his campaign $200,000 outright. It was not loan, as Mr. Connor’s was. He also has never hidden that fact. I also heard him debate twice in the Congressional race, and he was by far the most articulate, factual, and well-read candidate on a variety of issues. He also clearly supports the 2nd Amendment. Also remember, Cruz’ and Rand’s 1st office held was for Senate. I guess you’d be giving them a “C” for humility also?

  4. Definitely some good points. Cash is strong on defending the Second Amendment, but he’s not making it a big issue. It’s an issue where most of the candidates (including Graham himself) are fairly strong. It’s also not his #1 issue. He’s made it clear that abortion would be #1 for him.

    A lot of people can’t afford to serve in an office that won’t pay the bills. It’s not necessarily a matter of humility, and plenty of state reps and state senators are anything but humble.

    While you are right that Cash’s personal donation of $200k sets him barely ahead of Lee Bright on fundraising, there’s a significant difference in commitment between Cash’s donation and Connor’s loan. Cash is going to spend his cash getting his message out. Connor–well, he’s been a spoiler in a race before, and if he doesn’t burn through that money, he will get it back out.

    Cash’s biggest lack in my opinion is that he doesn’t have the charisma of typical politicians. He doesn’t work the crowds the way they do. He is more of a thinker than a talker, and the flashy talkers do better at winning popularity contests.

    Cash is my top pick, but I will proudly support Lee Bright if he is the challenger who enters the runoff.

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