Can Herman Cain Raise 'Romney-esque' Money? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Can Herman Cain Raise ‘Romney-esque’ Money?

Just after midnight, I got an e-mail press release in which the Herman Cain campaign reported that they finished the third quarter (ending Sept. 30) with $1.3 million cash on hand, having raised $2.8 million in the quarter. What’s more, a large slice of that money came in during late September, after Cain’s upset victory in the Sept. 24 Florida straw poll in Orlando.

Sources close to the campaign had told me that Cain was getting more than $100,000 a day in online contributions during the last week of September. And in last night’s press release, the campaign reported that the candidate’s surge had brought in $2 million in the first two weeks of October.

This astonishing news, combined with the Cain campaign’s relatively low “burn rate” and the fact that Cain has insisted on running a debt-free campaign, prompted a Republican strategist’s comment to me today in an interview: “You project that out over the course of the quarter and you’re talking … Romney-esque fundraising numbers. … [Y]ou’re conceivably looking at a campaign that hits January 1st with, potentially, ten million bucks cash on hand.” Such an interpretation contradicts the conventional wisdom of DC journalists, who claim the FEC report indicates the Cain campaign is “in jeopardy.”

A key component of the Cain campaign’s recent success had been the “9-9-9” tax plan. Although ridiculed by his opponents, the Atlanta businessman’s plan (9% flat taxes on personal income, consumer sales and corporate earnings) has been endorsed by the influential Club for Growth (“a truly revolutionary tax reform … a massive job-creating tax cut “) and praised by Art Laffer, the famous supply-side economist.

Cain’s month-long surge has been most noticeable in the Real Clear Politics national poll average, where he rose from 4.7% on Sept. 15 — when he was in fifth place — to 23.2% today, when he is in a virtual tie with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is first at 23.5%. However, polls in key early states are now beginning to reflect Cain’s momentum as well. Cain leads the latest poll in Iowa (where Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann have “crashed,” according to the Public Policy Polling analysis) and polls also show Cain now gaining ground in New Hampshire, considered a must-win for Romney.

Given his sudden leap into the “first tier” of the 2012 GOP field, Cain clearly understands he is now a target for rivals, telling New Hampshire lawmakers Wednesday, “You know you must be doing something right when you get a lot of arrows in your back.” The recent rise of the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has also prompted increasingly wild attacks from prominent liberal spokesmen, including MSNBC host Ed Schultz who on Thursday accused Cain of pandering to “white Republicans out there who don’t like black folks.”

Cain will face more intense (and more sane) scrutiny Sunday morning when he will be the featured guest on NBC’s Meet the Press, and then Tuesday in a Las Vegas debate televised on CNN.

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