[UPDATED -- 5:30 P.M.]
CEDAR RAPIDS – Despite an allegation of a 13-year affair, it’s not a question of if, but how the Herman Cain campaign will proceed, according to the Republican presidential hopeful’s top Iowa campaign official.
A day after an Atlanta woman said she had a consensual affair with Cain, who is married, the candidate told supporters he is reassessing his campaign.
That reassessment “is not to determine viability, but to determine the best use of resources,” Cain’s Iowa campaign chairman, Steve Grubbs of Davenport, insisted.
“I don’t think anybody should take his reassessment as anything other than an internal decision-making process,” Grubbs said as a CNN satellite truck pulled into his driveway and he prepared for an appearance on “John King, USA.”
So far, he added, Cain supporters in Iowa, including nearly 900 precinct caucus captains, are sticking with the candidate.
Although Cain’s reassessment puts the campaign “in a bit of a holding pattern,” Deborah Thornton of Iowa City hasn’t heard from any supporters who are walking away from the candidate. Monday night – after news of the latest allegation broke – Thornton was putting up yard signs.
“We haven’t had anyone call today and tell us to take them back,” she said Tuesday.
Comments from supporters she’s read on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet have been positive.
“The folks I know who are supporters are loyal and committed and believe in the issues and opportunities he has brought to the campaign,” Thornton said. “I haven’t heard from anyone abandoning ship.”
Most supporters are taking a wait-and-see attitude, Grubbs said. In the meantime, Cain is continuing his campaign activities and his Iowa phone bank is “charging ahead and we expect to sign up more precinct captains today.”
Many campaigns go through “tough times,” Grubbs said, mentioning John McCain’s campaign in 2007 and Bill Clinton’s in 1991.
“The question is whether you can bounce rather than continue to slide and we’re doing everything necessary to make sure that we bounce,” Grubbs said.
Cain did similar reassessments after finishing fifth in the Iowa GOP Straw Poll and after the Florida straw poll, Grubbs said.
“I believe in Herman Cain and his ideas,” Grubbs said in a statement to supporters. “We need to get back on message and make it to the Iowa caucuses. My request is that you don’t let anyone pick your candidate based on these allegations. We have a strong Iowa ground game, and we are looking forward to making it to Jan. 3 with a strong team intact. Thank you for your support and thank you for taking a long view of our sometimes challenging electoral process.”
In a conference call with supporters, Cain indicated he’ll make a decision over the next few days while continuing scheduled campaign activities.
Thornton isn’t sure he has that much time. She thinks her has about 24 hours to make a decision.
“You can’t let it hang,” Thornton said. “There are too many people who have to take action one way or another. “Hopefully, in 24 hours we’ll hear that he’s still a go.”
Not everyone thinks Cain survive the latest allegation.
Jim Kirkpatrick of Fayette thought Cain was the favorite among Fayette County Republicans until news of the affair.
“I don’t think his campaign can overcome another setback,” he said referring to allegations of sexual harassment by four women. Cain has denied those allegations.