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Cain May Follow Palin Model and Shape Campaign From Outside

Herman Cain, who suspended his
presidential campaign following allegations of an extramarital
affair, walked off the campaign trail having raised at least $14
million and with money in the bank.

It’s likely a sum that puts Cain in a position to still
have some influence on the 2012 race by donating to other
candidates or traveling to promote his ideas.

Cain’s role would be similar to that of 2008 Republican
vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin, whose political action
committee spent $1.6 million through June 30, much of it on
travel expenses, contributions to candidates and communications
with her supporters.

“You can fly around, you can support candidates, you can
play kingmaker and you can sell books, which he’s already done
and she’s already done as well,” said Alex Vogel, a Republican
consultant. “He can absolutely continue to make sure that his
vision is reflected in the campaign.”

Cain told supporters in an e-mail Dec. 6 that he planned to
remain active.

“It is my strong intent going forward to assist not only
other campaigns, but to influence the entire political
landscape,” Cain said. “We will continue to evaluate that
influence, how it can be improved, and what can be done to
persuade others to promote and implement our bold solutions.”

Remaining Active

J.D. Gordon, Cain’s spokesman, wouldn’t disclose how much
money is left in the campaign account. “Mr. Cain intends to be
part of the debate and, through Cainsolutions.org, he plans to
change Washington from the outside,” he said.

Cain reported raising $4.7 million through Sept. 30 with
$1.3 million in the bank. His cash-on-hand swelled as he took in
another $9.4 million through Nov. 10, after he surged to first
place in most public opinion polls. Cain also lent his campaign
$675,000.

The next financial disclosure reports will be released in
mid-January.

Cain pulled out of the race Dec. 4 following allegations
that he sexually harassed four women and had an affair with a
fifth. His exit came before he had time to expand his staffs in
Iowa and New Hampshire or began extensive television
advertising
.

While he initially announced a “suspension” of his
candidacy, Cain said on Fox News Dec. 8 that his campaign has
ended.

“There are no plans to re-emerge,” he said. “For right
now, I am going to still be a voice, a very strong voice on
behalf of the people who got me this far.”

Harassment Allegations

Republican consultant Craig Shirley said accusations
against Cain shouldn’t keep him from playing an active role
going forward.

“The allegations never stopped Bill Clinton; why should
they stop Herman Cain?” Shirley said. “They only stop him if
he allows them to stop him. This is America. You can reinvent
yourself.”

As others have done, Cain could convert his campaign
committee into a political action committee. That would allow
him to more than double his giving to candidates to $5,000 per
election from $2,000. It would also provide a vehicle for his
supporters’ continued donations; Palin’s PAC collected $1.7
million through June 30.

“The wisest thing for him to do is create a political
action committee,” said Eddie Mahe, a Republican consultant.
“Use that money to travel, to support candidates, to promote
his 9-9-9 idea,” a reference to Cain’s proposal to change the
tax code to include 9 percent individual, business and sales
taxes.

Donating to Candidates

Former Representative Jim Walsh, a New York Republican,
turned his unspent campaign funds into a PAC after declining to
seek re-election in 2010. Walsh, now with the lawyer-lobbying
firm KL Gates LLP, used his PAC to give $8,750 to members of
Congress during the first months of the year.

“You can contribute. You can go to fundraisers. You can
see your former colleagues. You can see people who are involved
in national politics,” Walsh said. “Familiarity doesn’t
necessarily bring contempt.”

Mahe said that if Cain withdraws from the political arena
altogether, the money he spent on his candidacy will amount to a
waste of cash. Instead, spending his leftover campaign funds to
help shape the race is an investment in his political future.

“The only way to get a return on the money is invest it,”
Mahe said. “Use the money he has left and keep on going. As a
businessman, he would understand return on investment.”

To contact the reporter on this story:
Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at
jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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