Now that Herman Cain is out of the race himself, the big question is who his supporters will flock to. While Cain will likely endorse Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul hopes to win some voters from Cain’s camp.
Paul, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, said he will likely attract some of Cain’s Tea Party supporters. Paul is widely acknowledged as the “intellectual godfather” of the movement and perhaps the original Tea Party candidate.
Paul said many people in Cain’s camp were attracted to the businessman's “independent mindedness.” The Texas Congressman, of course, is the GOP candidate who strays the farthest from the party’s current orthodoxy while Cain arguably strayed the second farthest.
Both candidates, especially Cain, tout themselves as Washington outsiders who can bring true reform.
In a statement regarding Cain’s exit, Paul praised him for his “unique perspective on many domestic issues important to voters such as tax code reform and a pro-growth agenda favorable to the private sector.”
The administrator of Web site Herman Cain Forums has also officially switched his endorsement to Ron Paul after Cain's exit.
“I had always liked a lot of what Ron Paul advocates, I don't agree with him on everything but probably 90%,” he wrote.
Paul, however, previously criticized Cain for his former employment at the Federal Reserve and his idea of enacting a national sales tax (a part of his 9-9-9 plan).
Like Paul, rival GOP candidate Newt Gingrich is also after Cain’s supporters.
“I am proud to know Herman Cain and consider him a friend. I know from having worked with him for more than a decade he will continue to be a powerful voice in the conservative movement for years to come,” stated Gingrich amid increasing speculation that he will pick up Cain’s official endorsement.
However, history has shown that supporters of former candidates do not always meekly fall in line with official endorsements. In 2008, for example, both Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill Clinton emphatically endorsed Barack Obama over John McCain in the 2008 presidential race after Clinton conceded defeat in the primaries.
Nevertheless, many Clinton supporters still went on to support Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama.