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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 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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