Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain told his supporters on Saturday that he’s suspending his campaign, which has become hobbled in recent weeks by accusations of sexual harassment and an Atlanta woman's claim that her and Cain carried on a 13-year affair.
While he will still be able to raise and spend campaign funds because he did not officially drop out, Cain's White House bid is effectively over. Cain said he came to the decision after assessing the impact that the allegations were having on his wife, his family and his supporters. Cain and his wife held hands as they walked up to the podium where Cain made his remarks in Atlanta. Even as he stepped aside under the weight of the allegations that have dogged him, Cain said that he was at "peace with God" and "peace with my wife."
He repeatedly called the allegations untrue and that the media spin hurts. "I am not going to be silenced and I will not go away," Cain said, announcing what he called his Plan B: A website named TheCainSolutions.com, through which he will continue to advocate for his platform.
His catchy "9-9-9" economic plan is not going anywhere, he said.
He will endorse another of the Republican presidential hopefuls soon, he said.
Recently, Cain acknowledged that Ginger White's allegations of an affair had led to a drop in campaign contributions, and a Des Moines Register poll showed his support among Republican Iowa caucus-goers has fallen to 8%, down from 23% in October.
This week, White told the news media that she and Cain engaged in an on-and-off affair for more than 13 years. She described the affair as "very casual." White issued a statement, through her attorney, after Cain's announcement Saturday.
Two women, Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar had previously accused Cain of sexually harassing them in the 1990s while he was head of the National Restaurant Association. Two other women also have said Cain sexually harassed them while they worked at the association, but they have declined to be identified.
Cain told the Union Leader in New Hampshire that he repeatedly gave White money to help her with "month-to-month bills and expenses." But he denied the relationship was sexual, as White contends. He said the two were friends.
Cain's announcement comes a month before the Iowa caucuses, the first formal test of the primary season, scheduled for January 3.
New Hampshire Republican officials who supported Cain began to survey their options Saturday, with several state representatives saying their support could go to Gingrich or Ron Paul. Cain's most prominent supporter in the state, former GOP state party chair Jack Kimball, said he would wait to learn whom Cain would endorse before making his own decision.
He said in the Thursday Union Leader interview that his wife's feelings, as well as the reaction from supporters and donors, would be important factors in deciding whether he will stay the race.
Cain told the newspaper he would drop out of the race if his wife asked him to, but quickly added that she wouldn't.
Though Gloria Cain rarely makes public appearances or statements, she told Fox News last month that she believed the sexual harassment allegations were "unfounded."