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July 12th, 2011

Can Cain’s Charisma Pay Off In Ames?

Herman Cain officially opened his Iowa campaign headquarters last night. Cain’s office should be familiar for Polk County Republicans as it’s the same space in which Brad Zaun’s 3rd District Congressional campaign was housed. Zaun is backing Michele Bachmann, whose office is located about 100 paces from Cain’s door.

Close to 85 supporters and well-wishers packed into Cain’s new office. Cain spent most of the time promoting his set of twelve common sense ideals that will help guide him in tackling the major issues that fact the nation if elected.

Cain also introduced his new Iowa staff to the crowd. Cain is on his third set of staff members since launching his campaign. Still, Cain insists, “We’re running this like a business, go figure. And guess what? It is working. That’s the important thing.” What’s working is Cain’s abundant charisma and engaging personality. His actual campaign apparatus on the other hand, has been rocked by staff departures.

Some of Cain’s staff departures occurred because they didn’t believe Cain was putting in the necessary effort in Iowa to be competitive in the state. His schedule seems to back up that claim. Last week, Cain backed out of a commitment to speak at the Fayette County GOP dinner just one week before the straw poll.

Cain’s website says that the candidate will instead be giving the keynote address at the 5th Annual Gathering of Eagles Conservative Grassroots BBQ in Turner, Oregon. The Oregon presidential primary is set to occur on May 15, 2012, and the nomination process will likely be over for all intents and purposes at that time.

In about a month, we will be able to tell if Cain’s team can transform the apparent interest people have for their candidate into actual support at the Ames Straw Poll. The straw poll is a critical early test of organizational strength for Republican candidates running in Iowa. Cain has told the Des Moines Register that he believes he can place in the top three. Cain needs a strong finish to prove that he’s more than just a gifted speaker.

Cain’s crowd last night wasn’t full of familiar faces, which indicates that his appeal may be bringing in new people to the caucus process. If that’s the case, it take a dedicated and disciplined staff to convince those supported to give up a Saturday in August to go to the straw poll and support their candidate.

Photo by Dave Davidson


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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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