Three hundred Herman Cain fans released a collective disappointed "awww" when their guy announced he was suspending his campaign, and now the race is on to see who can make those sad people smile again. Both Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have made explicit appeals to be Cain voters' second choice. Given the Republican primary's several Not Mitt Romney boomlets, that means they're really asking to be the fourth choice of anti-Romney voters, with Bachmann having been the first choice and Perry the second before they were abandoned for the comparatively less gaffe-prone Cain. So far, it looks like Newt Gingrich is the No. 1 No. 2 pick.
Perry posted a letter to Cain's voters on his website Monday, saying, "Herman Cain’s appeal was that of a Washington Outsider – someone not beholden to the entrenched Beltway interests, and who hasn’t spent his life cutting deals at the expense of conservative principles. As the race goes forward, with the Iowa Caucuses 32 days away, I am truly the only Washington Outsider left in the race." But former New Hampshire Republican Party chairman Fergus Cullen told the Houston Chronicle, “It’s too late for Perry... He’s just not seen as a credible option for voters looking for a new home. Even those who want to like Perry based on his positions or his Texas record can’t do it because he’s been such an incompetent candidate.”
The New York Times' Susan Saulny spoke to Jeff Jorgensen, the Republican chairman in Pottawattamie County, who floated Bachmann's name in his work "to stop the steamrolling Romney machine." As The Hill notes, Bachmann said Sunday that Tea Partiers would "come home" to her candidacy because "I think they see my voice will be most reflective of his." The Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs reports that in her paper's last poll including Cain, he got 8 percent -- and that Bachmann, Romney, Perry, and Ron Paul were the second choice among enough Cain voters to take one of his percentage points each. Gingrich, on the other hand, got three.