Herman Cain, a former corporate executive, bested other Republican presidential candidates in a straw poll of Florida Republican activists Saturday, a blow to the once-surging campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, which had lobbied hard for victory.
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain spoke Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
Mr. Perry was the only top-tier candidate to declare himself all-in for the straw poll, organized by the Republican Party of Florida and held in Orlando. His supporters had targeted the 3,500 delegates, and Mr. Perry himself had poked some other candidates for side-stepping the event.
But Mr. Cain won the poll with 37% of the 2,657 votes cast. Mr. Perry finished a distant second, with just over 15%.
Mitt Romney, who has been dueling with Mr. Perry for the status of front-runner in national opinion surveys, placed a close third in the Florida poll, with 14%. Mr. Romney is building a presence in Florida, but he had said he would not actively campaign in any straw poll.
The Florida activists showed little enthusiasm for Rep. Michele Bachmann, who carried only 1.5% of the vote. Ms. Bachmann had won a straw poll last month in Iowa, where the participants were thought to include a large number of evangelical Christian conservatives.
Mr. Perry's second-place finish caps a difficult stretch for the Texas governor after he stumbled repeatedly in a Thursday night debate, also held in Orlando. In interviews, many Florida Republicans said they had attended the debate expecting to back the Texas governor in the straw poll. But they reconsidered after his poor showing.
"I planned to support Rick Perry, but I was a little disappointed with his performance," said Fred Scheibl, a delegate who helped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2008.
In the debate, Mr. Perry struggled to parry his rivals' attacks and was repeatedly rebuffed by his top rival, Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts.
Mr. Perry also angered some conservatives by standing by a Texas law he had signed making illegal immigrants eligible for in-state university tuition. At one point in the debate, Mr. Perry suggested that opponents of the law don't "have a heart" -- a line Mr. Romney quickly embraced in his own attacks against the Texas governor.
"We were all looking at Perry as our knight in shining armor, but we're finding out he has some baggage," said Joyce Estes, a delegate from Apalachicola, before the voting. "The question is how much baggage we can accept."
With polls showing the race a two-man contest between Messrs. Perry and Romney, the win catapults Mr. Cain back into the presidential picture after his own bid languished during the summer.
Afterward, Mr. Cain hailed the win as "a sign of our growing momentum and my candidacy that cannot be ignored."
Mr. Perry came into the event with all the momentum. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week gave Mr. Perry a nine-point edge over Mr. Romney among Florida Republicans, 31% to 22%.
In other results from the Florida straw poll, Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum placed fourth, with nearly 11%.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul won just over 10%, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won just over 8%.
Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman won just over 2%, ahead of Mrs. Bachmann.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
Maybe you’ve heard or read some of this info already, but be sure to read the last part of this message. It’s an excerpt from an interview with Herman Cain by journalist, David Brody.
Herman Cain is running for president. He’s not a career politician (in fact he has never held political office). He’s known as a pizza guy, but there’s a lot more to him. He’s also a computer guy, a banker guy and a rocket scientist guy.
Here’s his biography:
Bachelors degree in Mathematics.
Masters degree in Computer Science.
Mathematician for the Navy, where he worked on missile ballistics.
Computer systems analyst for Coca-Cola.
VP of Corporate Data Systems and Services for Pillsbury.
All achieved before reaching the age of 35. He reached the top of the information systems world, then he changed careers.
Business Manager. Took charge of Pillsburys 400 Burger King restaurants in the Philadelphia area, which were the companys poorest performers in the country. Spent the first nine months learning the business from the ground up, cooking hamburger and yes, cleaning toilets. After three years he had turned them into the companys best performers.
Godfathers Pizza CEO. Was asked by Pillsbury to take charge of their Godfathers Pizza chain (which was on the verge of bankruptcy). He made it profitable in 14 months.
In 1988 he led a buyout of the Godfathers Pizza chain from Pillsbury. He was now the owner of a restaurant chain. Again he reached the top of the ladder of another industry.
He was also chairman of the National Restaurant Association during this time. This is a group that interacts with government on behalf of the restaurant industry, and it gave him political experience from the non-politician side.
Having reached the top of a second industry, he changed careers again.
Adviser to the Federal Reserve System. Herman Cain went to work for the Federal Reserve Banking System advising them on how monetary policy changes would affect American businesses.
Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. He worked his way up to the chairmanship of a regional Federal Reserve bank. This is only one step below the chairmanship of the entire Federal Reserve System (the top banking position in the country). This position allowed him to see how monetary policy is made from the inside, and understand the political forces that impact the monetary system.
After reaching the top of the banking industry, he changed careers yet again!
Writer and public speaker. He then started to write and speak on leadership. His books include Speak as a Leader, CEO of Self, Leadership is Common Sense, and They Think Youre Stupid.
Radio Host. Around 2007after a remarkable 40-year career, he started hosting a radio show on WSB in Atlanta (the largest talk radio station in the country).
He did all this starting from rock bottom. His father was a chauffeur and his mother was a maid.
When you add up his accomplishments in his life, including reaching the top of three unrelated industries: information systems, business management, and banking, Herman Cain may have the most impressive resume of anyone that has run for the presidency in the last half century.
MORE ABOUT HERMAN CAIN
David Brody: Where do you stand with Evangelicals?
Herman Cain: I’m a Baptist preacher. A lot of people don’t know that. My parents joined Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta in the mid 40s when they moved to Atlanta when I was 2 years old. That was the church I grew up in. That was the church I joined at 10 years of age. I've been in the church all my life. When I moved around in my corporate career, I always stayed involved in the church.
So my faith is a big part of who I am and at my church now, which is the same one I grew up in. I’m one of the Associate Ministers there because I was called to the ministry. Sometimes when people are called to the ministry, they think that God wants them to give up something else. But God has done some magnificent things with my life, especially what he has done in terms of my health.
Let me share this with you real quick. In 2006, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I had cancer in my colon and cancer in my liver. I had to go through chemotherapy. The surgery required removal of 30 percent of my colon and 70 percent of my liver. And then I had to go through some more chemotherapy.
That was nearly five years ago and I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. God said Herman, not yet. My question was, 'Lord why are you keeping me here?' Now let me tell you why I know God kept me here. Let me give you why I know God kept me here to do something that I never envisioned.
When I started thinking about running for President, I thought about Noah. Noah didn'tt know how to build an ark. I started to think about Moses. Moses resisted going back leading the children out of Egypt. The Bible is full of people. Joshua didn'tt want to lead the children into the Promised Land. God spoke to Moses and encouraged Moses, you must talk to our son Joshua, and he did and that gave him the strength.
When I was first detected that I had stage 4 cancer I had to go and get a second opinion. The doctor that was recommended was a doctor in Savannah, Georgia, three hours away from Atlanta. I resisted. I said, 'Why do I need to go all the way to Savannah and I live here in Atlanta with all these hospitals and doctors here. I know I have cancer. I know what we need to get done. Let’s get on with the program.'
You know that business mentality. And so the friend of mine said, 'I think you want to go see this doctor. His name is Dr. Lord.' I said, 'What? L-O-R-D?' Yes. He was a colon cancer specialist. Dr. Lord gave me my second opinion.
When I went to MD Anderson Cancer Center and I had to go through orientation with my wife in terms of how to navigate through this big medical facility, we went into the orientation office and the lady that was supposed to give us our orientation, she was busy with some other new patients. So the lady at the counter said, ‘To keep you and Mrs. Cain from waiting, I will give you your orientation so you won’t have to wait.’
I said, 'Well thank you. How nice. I didn't know they had good customer service at a big medical facility but they do.' So we go into the conference room and she put all the materials down that we were supposed to go through. And she started to tell us about what we needed to do, how I could get my blood work done the night before. I said, 'wait a minute. You've been so nice. What is your name?' She said 'Grace'. I said, 'Do you spell it the same way as you spell it in Amazing Grace?' She said, 'Yes.'
A lady named Grace. My wife and I looked at each other and I said, 'Thank you Lord.' He's with me on this journey. I’m not done yet. I was randomly assigned an oncologist and a surgeon. The surgeon’s name is Dr. Abdullah. He’s from Lebanon. That made me a little nervous initially but only to find out that he’s a Christian. He’s a Christian, and when I went in to see Dr. Abdullah. he was explaining to me how he was going to remove a part of my colon and a part of my liver in one operation.
I’m going, ‘Doc you must be a miracle worker. How are you going to do that? The colon is on the left. The liver is on the right. How are you going to do that with one incision?'
He said, ‘I do it all the time. I'm going to start in your sternum and I'm going to make an incision in the shape of a "J".’ As in J-E-S-U-S? He said yes. A Jesus cut. I said, 'Thank you Lord.' God said 'Not yet' and He gave me these signs along the way that let me know that He was with me.
And I firmly believe that God kept me for a reason much bigger than I ever would have dreamed or imagined. Whether that is ultimately to become the President of the United States or not, I don't know. I just know at this point I am following God's plan.
You get two plans in life: Yours and Gods. Now mine was to become a successful businessman, and I was able to do that. And I believe that God allowed me to become a successful businessman because He had something else in mind beyond that successful business career. There was a song that a songwriter who was a good friend of mine when he was alive, he wrote a song called God Is On My Side. I'll never forget it.
Brody: These candidates are going to have to deal with Herman Cain.
Cain: They’re going to have to deal with Herman Cain.
He's the only GOP out there trying to solve problems, the rest are arguing over 12 yr old little girls.
and he is to the right of Boortz--might as well say 'let's ged rid of all the non-producers and it would be a better nation'. I would be included in that group--fine, suits me. I killed myself serving my government--that wasn't enough--and i cannot do more.
Go Herman, go.
i won't vote for him or rick perry--Bush had a few redeeming qualities--Perry has nothing to say that would interest me.
if i am provoked enough i will vote against the GOP. help Obama stay in office, and i think i am on the 'Verge'.
Well, for one thing it isn't the Community Organizer in Chief we have now who sat in Rev Wrights church for 20 years listening to the hate preached there, but America didn't seem to care about that. Why is Cain's or Romney's religious affiliations suddenly of concern. A way to distract and divide? Are we that easily persuaded?
I'm hoping we can elect a statesman, not an empty suit. This is a critical point in time for the direction for our country .