Cain is done, but who knows his next move?

The question of what Herman Cain will do in the coming days, whether he will stay in the race or exit to focus on healing the wounds that have no doubt been created in recent weeks, is something that observers and pundits are dwelling on. What he does could, obviously, have a significant impact on the race.

For his part Cain and his campaign have, as usual, given mixed message. At first they said that Cain could leave the race. That changed as the day went along, after Cain gave a firey speech in Ohio. However, by the end of the day it appeared that Cain was still weighing all of his options, and said that no decision would be made until he spoke with his wife.

Many Republicans are saying that Cain needs to get out of the race for various different reasons, from him now serving a distraction to the feeling that he nees to focus on his family. Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a tea party favorite, is among them:

“Beyond reassessing his campaign, he probably needs to understand that he is a distracter for what’s going on right now and we should move on,” West told WMAL’s radio show “Morning Majority.”

Ron Paul is rising in Iowa

While many observers are focused on Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who appear to be the main obstacles to Mitt Romney winning the Republican primary, Ron Paul is making his own push in Iowa and New Hampshire. Brent Budowsky offers his two-cents on the state of Paul’s campaign over at The Hill’s Pundits Blog:

There are now multiple polls that show Ron Paul has gained support and has a legitimate chance to come in first or second in Iowa and New Hampshire. I would now call Ron Paul one of three front-runners in both Iowa and New Hampshire alongside Mitt Romney and a third candidate, currently Newt Gingrich. If Ron Paul wins Iowa, which he might, all bets are off. Also, most analysts miss the fact that many states have open systems where independents, and in some cases Democrats, can vote for a Republican nominee. This could give a further boost to Paul.

It is now time to give Ron Paul the attention he deserves in debates and throughout the political community.
The campaign gets very interesting if Newt Gingrich joins Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Donald Trump in collapsing, which would give Paul a head-to-head contest with Romney.

I am not predicting Ron Paul is nominated, I am suggesting he deserves to be treated with the respect of now being a serious contender to win first or second place in Iowa and New Hampshire. I have always predicted that Paul will ultimately be one of three finalists for the Republican nomination, which will become a three-person race, with Ron Paul one of the three.

It’s the Economy, Stupid: Ron Paul Edition

Here’s something that I haven’t seen get more airtime: Ron Paul moves into top-tier in Iowa Caucuses, Now a 4-way Dead Heat:

The Iowa caucuses are just seven weeks away, but Republican voters in the nation’s first presidential nominating state seem as torn as ever over the GOP field.

A new Bloomberg poll of likely caucus participants shows a four-way tie in Iowa, with Rep. Ron Paul joining Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain in the top tier of candidates. Underscoring the uncertainty in the race, 60 percent of respondents said they could be persuaded to back someone other than their first choice for the nomination.

The poll, conducted November 10 - 12 by the West Des Moines-based firm Selzer & Co, shows Cain in the lead with 20 percent, while Paul comes in at 19 percent. Romney wins 18 percent support, and Gingrich earns 17 percent. The margin of error is 4.4 percent.

While Christian conservatives have more influence in Iowa than they do in the rest of the nation, only a quarter of likely caucus-goers say social issues are more important this year than economic issues. As many as 71 percent say they’re voting on issues like jobs and taxes.

It’s the economy, stupid, Ron Paul edition.

Four-way tie in Iowa for GOP nod (Ron Paul is a frontrunner?)

With national polls showing yet another shake-up in the race for the Republican nomination, the latest survey out of Iowa shows a four-way race among Republican caucus-goers:

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.
Texas Governor Rick Perry and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, who both once were strong contenders in polls of the Republican race, have seen support plummet. Perry, who is running ads in Iowa, gets 7 percent support in the Bloomberg survey; Bachmann, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, is backed by 5 percent.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who has spent the most time campaigning in Iowa, is at 3 percent. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who isn’t competing in Iowa, is backed by 1 percent.

Paul’s quiet rise prompted National Journal to run with this headline in their coverage of the Bloomberg’s survey: “Ron Paul Emerges as Front-Runner in Iowa.” And although straw poll results don’t translate into support at the ballot box, Paul has had a good last few weeks with grassroots support. Unforunately, he continues to be treated unfairly by the media.

Cain is textbook unelectable

It has certainly been a bad week for Herman Cain. Instead of Cain’s campaign getting a handle on the story past allegations against him, it has only gotten worse as more allegations have surfaced; including a more recent claim made by a influential talk show host based in Iowa:

A third woman considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.

The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.

This woman isn’t bound by a non-disclosure agreement since she didn’t file a formal complaint. As noted another accusation came from talk show host Steve Deace:

In a cryptic comment made at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview event Tuesday, Mark Block, Herman Cain’s campaign manager, made reference to an incident involving Cain and a receptionist for a radio talk show host.

GOP Presidential Power Rankings

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last round of the GOP Presidential Power Rankings. Rick Perry has dropped off dramatically, though his fundraising is very solid, and Herman Cain has risen substantiall in the polls. Mitt Romney’s support has remained steady, but that’s not exactly a promising sign. But we’ll get to that in a minute…

The News

Nevada moves up caucus date to January 14th

The primary calendar keeps getting pushed more into January. As you know, both South Carolina and Florida announced last week that their respective primaries would be moved earlier in the year to January 21st and January 31st. Not to be outdone, the Nevada GOP yesterday moved its caucus to January 14th:

The Nevada Republican Party announced Wednesday that it will hold its presidential caucus on Jan. 14, likely pushing the first votes of the 2012 election cycle into 2011.

“I’m extremely pleased to finally have a firm date for a caucus that will greatly improve Nevada’s standing and relevance in terms of national politics,” Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Amy Tarkanian said. “By establishing this date, we maintain Nevada’s standing as one of the first four ‘carve-out’ states and as the very first in the west.”

This move is very likely to bring us a scenario where we’ll see the first votes cast for the Republican nomination in December:

With Nevada’s decision to hold its caucuses on Jan. 14, it’s possible that the presidential primary season could begin immediately after Christmas — with New Hampshire settling on Jan. 7, and Iowa going either Dec. 28 or 29. If that happens, it could be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back on Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s dominance of the primary calendar.

Ron Paul hauls in $8 million in Q3

While it’s not as much as what Rick Perry or Mitt Romney brought in to their campaign coffers in the last quarter, Ron Paul’s $8 million haul is still very impressive:

Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who’s running for his party’s presidential nomination, said Wednesday his campaign had raised more than $8 million from more than 100,000 donors in the third quarter.

Speaking at the National Press Club, the 12-term congressman said the total will provide his campaign with the financial fuel necessary to keep his operation running smoothly, with just about three months out from the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the nomination process.

The announcement follows news reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry amassed $17 million and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised upward of $13 million in the same quarter, though Mr. Perry only announced his candidacy seven weeks ago.

Paul has been concentrating his efforts in Iowa and New Hampshire, both early primary/caucus states, where his fiscally conservative message and positions on socials manage to appeal to social conservatives and libertarians will be beneficial in those states. However, he’ll have a tough road ahead both states as four other candidates are vying for the prominence of a victory in the Iowa caucuses and in New Hampshire where Mitt Romney has dominated early polls.

Ron Paul: “He Served”

Ron Paul is headed back to the airwaves with a million dollar ad buy in four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The ad, which hits back at the notion that Paul is anti-military, notes his own military service and respect for veterans, providing testimony from brave men that fought in Vietnam.

Here’s the very well done ad:

USA Today published at an excellent editorial from Paul, who took Mitt Romney to task for his health reform plan — the blueprint of ObamaCare:

The idea that more government involvement in health care is the solution, especially at a time when the nation is dealing with record deficits and debt, is preposterous. And the promised effectiveness of forced mandate health care is easily disproven by looking at how such a system has worked in Massachusetts.

Why isn’t Paul a serious candidate?

Over and over again, I get told that Ron Paul isn’t a serious candidate.  After all, he’s Ron Paul.  However, Jason posted yesterday showing a recent Rasmussen poll of Iowa of voters likely to take part in the Iowa Caucus that clearly shows Paul is among the so-called top tier of candidates:

A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

With the margin of error at on +/- 3%, Paul is clearly holding his own against everyone but Rick Perry.  However, historically, front runner status this early isn’t always an indication of later victory.  He wouldn’t be the first candidate to crash and burn later in the race.  A lot of Perry’s polling comes from being the “shiny and new” candidate, though a fair amount also comes from being a very charismatic governor.  While those drawn to his charisma aren’t likely to back down in the near future, the “shiny and new” crowd are likely to jump ship later.

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