First, the good news from the Herman Cain campaign:
Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain is a grassroots sensation on the 2012 presidential campaign trail. Now we know what that looks like as a dollar figure: Cain brought in $2.46 million in campaign contributions, a number the campaign tells TPM it expects to see rise to closer to $2.48 when all the final reporting is done.
“It’s not Mitt Romney money, it’s not [President] Obama money, but we’re excited,” spokesperson Ellen Carmichael told TPM late Friday night.
Cain, wealthy from his experience running Godfather’s as well as other successful business enterprises, has put in some of his own cash as “seed money” for the campaign, Carmichael said. But she said that the amount Cain has contributed pales in comparison to the $2 million or so former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman gave his own campaign, which reported just over $4 million in total fundraising today.
It’s not Romney money, and it’s not even Pawlenty money, who edged Huntsman in the fundraising sweepstakes (and Huntsman’s money was mainly his own anyway). However, for a true outsider running a campaign that hardly anyone took seriously seven weeks ago when Cain first announced, that’s a pretty impressive result. Cain’s campaign claims 27,000 online donors, and also says that most of the haul came from donations of $100 or less. The money will help Cain fund operations in early states, probably focusing on Iowa and South Carolina, the latter of which he has to win or come close to make a case for his ability to campaign effectively.
Unfortunately, Iowa is where the bad news originates:
Herman Cain’s Iowa Director, Tina Goff, told TheIowaRepublican.com that she has submitted her resignation and is no longer working for the campaign. In addition to Goff’s resignation, TheIowaRepublican.com can confirm that Kevin Hall has also left the campaign. Hall served as Cain’s Straw Poll coordinator. …
With just 43 days to the Iowa Straw Poll, Cain’s campaign here in Iowa and nationally seems to be unraveling. Cain lost his New Hampshire director, Matt Murphy, who was his only staffer in that state, earlier this week. Jim Zeiler, a Cain regional director who had been to Iowa and was helping with the campaign’s Straw Poll plans, has also left the campaign.
How seriously will Cain contest Iowa? He has an opening there, according to this past week’s Iowa Poll in the Des Moines Register. Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann ended up in a virtual tie for first place, 23/22 respectively, but Cain followed in third place with 10%. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul tied for fourth at 7%, followed by Tim Pawlenty in sixth place at 6% — a poor showing for Pawlenty, who needs a strong finish in Iowa. A third place finish in Iowa in the January caucuses, especially at the expense of Pawlenty and Gingrich, would give Cain some serious credibility heading into South Carolina.
Even with that strong result for Cain, however, Goff told The Iowa Republican than she didn’t believe Cain was serious about campaigning in the state, which is why she quit. Perhaps this is just a case of differing strategies, and it’s early enough to hire more staff and shift resources, especially with the unexpectedly strong second-quarter haul. With the Ames straw poll coming soon, though, Cain doesn’t have a lot of time in Iowa and will have to retrench quickly to maintain his momentum with caucus-goers.