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July 19th, 2011

Inside The Numbers: Is Cain Really a Fiscal Conservative? Not with Campaign Cash

Republicans love to lecture Democrats that our government cannot spend more than it brings in.  Apparently, two GOP candidates for President do not think that message applies to their own campaigns.  Both Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich spent more money than their campaigns raised from April 1st-June 30th.

Cain’s campaign was able to maintain some cash on hand because of a loan of $500,000 from the candidate.  However, a close inspection of Cain’s expenditures shows he is not very fiscally conservative with donors’ money.  He raised $2,053,000 and spent $2,096,000.  Only Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty spent more cash this cycle than Herman Cain did.

The difference is, Romney and Pawlenty raised far more than they spent.  Cain is running on a “Common Sense Solutions” platform and claims that his business experience gives him an edge over the rest of the field.  If Cain’s campaign was being run like a business, it might be on the verge of bankruptcy.

More troubling is the fact that Cain has not used any money on TV ads, radio ads, or mailers in the early caucus and primary states.  Although more than $80,000 went toward “media production”, that money appears to have been used to develop web videos. Cain’s official presidential announcement drained another $80,000-$100,000 from the coffers.  The campaign rented out Olympic Park in Atlanta for the event and hired security, entertainment, lighting crews, among other expenses.

Herman Cain revealed on “Fox News Sunday” that he is employing a 50-state strategy to win the GOP nomination.  After saying he believed he would finish in the top three at the Iowa Straw Poll, Cain said a failure in Ames, or later in the Iowa Caucus, would not end his campaign.  “The nomination process doesn’t stop with the early caucuses only,” Cain told Chris Wallace.  “There are a lot of other states on the back-end of the process that could swing it from where it starts out.”

The 50-state plan is not only questionable from a strategic standpoint. It is also incredibly expensive.  Touring Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina can be done relatively cheap.  No candidate has ever won the nomination without winning at least one of those three early states.

However, Cain is flying in private jets and staying in expensive hotels as her campaigns all over the country.  From April 1-June 30th, his campaign spent over $245,000 on private jets and more than $90,000 on commercial flights.  That means Herman Cain’s campaign is spending more than $3,700 per day on airfare.

The campaign’s hotel bill for the quarter adds up to almost $65,000.  That equals more than $720 per day just in hotel bills.  Other expenses just seem odd.  Joe the Plumber, whose 15 minutes of fame expired three years ago, raked in $10,000 from the Cain campaign for “events”.  If Cain plans to continue with his 50-state strategy, his campaign will need to show some fiscal restraint or the candidate himself will be forced to spend a significant amount of his fortune.

Here is a breakdown of some of the Cain campaign expenditures from the past three months:

Air fare – $336,000

Official announcement event – estimated $85,000

Little Bonanza Productions (media) – $77,500

Hotels – $65,000

Staffer/Consultant Scott Toomey – $33,602, plus $2,495 in expenses

Joe the Plumber – $10,000

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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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