Herman Cain’s days of running a shoestring operation may be coming to an end. Responding to concerns about the lack of significant staff, Cain promised that his campaign would shortly begin hiring to meet the demands on a front-running candidate:
Seizing modest momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, businessman Herman Cain promised to invest in additional staff and campaign more aggressively in New Hampshire and Iowa.
“We have run this very lean by design. We are now going to ramp up,” he told reporters near the New Hampshire State House Wednesday afternoon. “We now have the money to do so. I didn’t want to get out in front and commit to spending a whole lot of money before I knew that the American people were going to say, ‘You know what? This long shot may not be such a long shot.'”
Cain also declared an end to his book tour, which had drawn criticism as a sign of a lack of seriousness:
Cain has put little effort into visiting early voting states or building a ground game in the states where presidential contests are typically won and lost. Cain launched a recent book tour that fueled speculation he was more interested in profiting from his growing national profile than winning the election.
“The book tour is over,” Cain declared Wednesday, vowing to add staff in New Hampshire and Iowa and bring his campaign bus to the Granite State in the coming weeks. He hadn’t visited New Hampshire since midsummer.
The most significant part of this story is Cain’s statement that they have enough money flowing into the campaign to compete in Iowa and New Hampshire. The latter is a long shot, and Cain might be better advised to focus on South Carolina, given Mitt Romney’s advantage in the Granite State. Cain’s probably not drawing so much cash that he can afford to blow it on a state he’s likely to lose. South Carolina will be a more fertile ground for Cain’s combination of fiscal and social policies, and a win in Iowa and South Carolina would put him on good footing in the early days of primary voting.
Still, the expansion comes at a time when some wondered whether Cain could develop a ground organization that would produce votes. His recent rise in polling has taken place almost entirely in the fourth quarter, so we won’t get a look at Cain’s finances for another three months. It’s not surprising that his strong debate performances in the past two weeks has produced a boom in contributions, and with Perry’s continued struggles in these forums, some of the anybody-but-Romney donors might shift from Perry to Cain immediately. If Cain can produce another robust performance next Tuesday in Las Vegas, where the other candidates will undoubtedly attack Cain on foreign policy rather than economics, that Perry-to-Cain drift might accelerate.