Herman Cain suspends his campaign for 2012 GOP presidential nomination.Why am I not surprised..? I had a feeling this was coming.
The brief but dramatic campaign of Herman Cain ended on Saturday in Atlanta when he said the relentless attention on accusations of his sexual misconduct had become too much to bear.
Cain again denied allegations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair, while declaring, “I’m not going away.” But, he said, after “a lot of prayer and soul searching I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family.” Cain also cited difficulty in raising enough money to remain competitive.
Cain gave no indication on Saturday who was his second choice for president, but he said he will endorse one of his former rivals “in the near future.”
In a Republican nominating contest that has see-sawed from one frontrunner to another, Cain, 65, was perhaps the unlikeliest to rise to the top of the pack. A former pizza executive with no political experience, little campaign organization to speak of and a schedule tailored more to selling books than winning votes, Cain nevertheless captured the hearts of Republican voters with a clear message, confidently delivered.
“I’m upset. I feel like the other side won, their dirty tricks,” said Marelli Gardner, a health-care coordinator and tea party activist from Cummings, Ga., who drove 45 minutes and waited two hours to hear Cain speak on Saturday. She left before his remarks were over. “A lot of people had a lot of hope in Herman Cain.”
The question now is where the rest of Cain’s backing goes. Asked in an interview in Iowa last week if he would pick up Cain’s supporters, Gingrich responded: “Oh, sure.”
The Gingrich campaign moved quickly to appeal to Cain supporters on Saturday, praising his ideas immediately after he announced the suspension of his campaign. Gingrich himself lauded Cain a short while later at a Staten Island event, saying that he “deserves credit for having the courage to talk about big ideas and focus on the economy.”
But there is also evidence that Romney could benefit from Cain’s departure. A Pew poll conducted before Thanksgiving showed that Cain supporters split evenly between the former Massachusetts governor and Gingrich when asked for their second choice.