Both Herman Cain and his senior adviser Mark Block are adamant Cain is staying in the race, but yesterday’s National Review report that he’s reassessing his candidacy has given some Republicans a chance to nudge him toward the exit.
The most prominent and damaging voice to gently hint that Cain should hang it up? Rep. Allen West. The previous allegations against Cain were dismissed by some conservatives as evidence of liberal racism. But West didn’t seem to buy into that on WMAL this morning:
“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.”
West, a Tea Party favorite, indicated Cain is already out of the running and the GOP nomination field has come down to “a two-man race.”
The other Republican candidates are staying pretty quiet on the subject, except for Jon Huntsman, who called the “bimbo eruption” a distraction from the “real issues.”
On Sean Hannity last night, Karl Rove indicated that this was probably curtains for Cain:
“And, you know, when you have 61 texts and emails — some of them at early hours and late hours — it just doesn’t on the surface of it look good,” he said to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday night. “And I suspect what he’s asking himself is: Am I the guy who could win the nomination and help put the country in the right place by defeating Barack Obama or am I not?”
If Cain ends up dropping out, the implications could be both good and bad for Newt Gingrich. While polls suggest that Gingrich would pick up the lion’s share of Cain’s supporters, Cain’s scandals have sucked up a lot of the media attention so far. Without him in the race, Gingrich will come under increasing scrutiny – both from the media, and from Republicans who want to make sure he gets fully vetted.