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August 19th, 2011

Herman Cain Doesn’t Seem Serious about Winning

What is Herman Cain running for?  It does not appear to be the presidency.  The Georgia businessman likes to tell audiences that he is “not running for second”, but more recent comments make it look like he’s running for fifth place.  Cain told Fox News on Monday that he would be “ecstatic” if he finishes in the top five in New Hampshire.  That follows a disappointing fifth place finish in the Ames Straw Poll.

“If we finish in the top five in New Hampshire, Martha, we will be ecstatic, because we’re gonna put the same type of on the ground effort in New Hampshire that we did in Iowa, and we’re also working South Carolina simultaneously,” Cain said.

This statement is nothing less than nonsensical.  There is no path to the nomination if you place fifth in the first two voting states.  History shows you need to win Iowa or New Hampshire.  Since the Iowa Caucus began in 1976, no candidate has won the GOP nomination without winning one or both of those states.

Secondly, it was Cain’s lack of ground game in Iowa that resulted in a low finish at the straw poll.  He had the potential to place at least third in the event, but decided to campaign very little in Iowa in June and July.  If that is the type of “on the ground effort” he has planned for New Hampshire and South Carolina, he is destined to fail there too.

Despite the Cain campaign’s spin, fifth place is a terrible showing in the Ames Straw Poll.  Only six candidates purchased a lot and were allowed to speak.  The only one Cain beat was little known Thad McCotter who got just 35 votes.  Considering Herman Cain placed third in two Iowa polls taken in late June, a fifth place finish at Ames is a devastating blow to his campaign.

Not only is fifth a bad slot, he would have fallen farther if Mitt Romney and Rick Perry had competed in the Ames Straw Poll.  Perry’s name was not even on the ballot, but he garnered more than 700 votes.  Romney made no effort to secure votes at the event.  Both could have easily placed in the top five.

Cain was also defeated by Rick Santorum, who was well behind him in the polls a month and a half ago.  In his syndicated column, Cain claimed, “The candidates who finished ahead of me spent millions on TV and radio advertising.”  This is simply not true.  No candidate spent millions on advertising and Rick Santorum spent $0.  He also did not rent a massive tour bus with his face emblazoned on the side of it, as Herman Cain did.

The reason Santorum fared better than Cain is simple.  Santorum campaigned harder in Iowa, touring over 50 cities in the weeks leading up to the Straw Poll.  Herman Cain spent only two days in Iowa in July.  His bus tour the week of August 13th was too little, too late.

“We finished in the middle of the pack which is what we were hoping to do,” Cain said earlier this week. Nonsense.  Cain stated in early August that he thought he would finish in the top three and would need to reevaluate things if he failed to do so.   Now he says he is ecstatic with fifth place.  The self-proclaimed non-politician is giving us nothing but pure political spin.

“Our momentum continues to grow,” Cain tells reporters. Wrong again.  Herman Cain’s momentum has not only slowed down in Iowa.  It has come to a halt.  He claims that once supporters get behind him, they do not leave.  Cain’s performance in Iowa shows the exact opposite.  His early supporters have fled and his dismal performance in the Straw Poll is definitive proof of that.

If Herman Cain would really be “ecstatic” about fifth place in New Hampshire, then he probably turned cartwheels Wednesday.  The latest poll there shows him tied for fifth, with Jon Huntsman, at 3%.

Herman Cain had a chance.  He is the best speaker in the field and people are immediately drawn to him.  However, Cain’s campaign blew it by not focusing more on Iowa.  They have no one but themselves to blame.

Their goal seems to be all about raising Cain’s name ID nationally.  What they fail to realize is that could easily be accomplished by doing well in the early states.  Herman Cain has a book due out in October.  One has to wonder if his presidential bid is more about selling books than becoming the GOP nominee.  Herman Cain has already lost that race.  He, his campaign staff, and his most ardent supporters are the only ones who have not yet realized it.

Photo by Dave Davidson, 

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson serves as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prior to founding Iowa's largest conservative news site, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. In that capacity, Robinson planned and organized the largest political event in 2007, the Iowa Straw Poll, in Ames, Iowa. Robinson also organized the 2008 Republican caucuses in Iowa, and was later dispatched to Nevada to help with the caucuses there. Robinson cut his teeth in Iowa politics during the 2000 caucus campaign of businessman Steve Forbes and has been involved with most major campaigns in the state since then. His extensive political background and rolodex give him a unique perspective from which to monitor the political pulse of Iowa.

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