A day after Herman Cain shuttered his Republican candidacy for president, struggling GOP hopefuls looked to pick up the fallen candidate’s tea party following and upset a primary dynamic that has pushed Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to the forefront.
Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said Sunday they expected Cain supporters would fall in line behind them because of their messages on limited government, despite their low standing in the polls. Meanwhile, last-place rival Rick Santorum predicted he now had a good chance of winning the Iowa caucus.
While such brazen predictions are likely overstated, the 11th-hour press comes at a crucial time and could upset an already volatile race for the GOP endorsement. A month before the first vote is cast in the Iowa caucus and five weeks before the New Hampshire primary, most GOP candidates were looking to a week of heavy campaigning in Iowa ahead of the next debate, scheduled for Saturday. The stakes are possibly the highest for Mitt Romney, who could be hurt the worst if Cain supporters rally behind Gingrich.