Last Republicans standing race to grab a slice of Cain's support base

Conservative members of Grand Old Party remain unwilling to settle for Mitt Romney

New York

The "Not Romney" candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are scrambling to win over the former supporters of Herman Cain after the pizza mogul suspended his scandal-hit campaign at the weekend.

With just four weeks left until the first nominating caucuses in the state of Iowa, the party's ultra-conservative wing shows no sign of settling for the establishment favourite, the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. If anything, his support in Iowa appears to be ebbing, according to a new poll, to the benefit of the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, and the libertarian Congressman, Ron Paul.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party's darling Michele Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry and even former Senator Rick Santorum all claimed yesterday that they could consolidate the anti-Romney sentiment in the party and emerge as the challenger to Barack Obama next November.

Mr Cain suspended his presidential run on Saturday, five days after a woman in Georgia claimed to have had a 13-year affair with him. Her allegation was denied by Mr Cain, the former chief executive of the Godfather's Pizza chain. It was the final straw after weeks of revelations that Mr Cain had faced sexual harassment claims from employees while was running a lobby group for the restaurant industry. Until those revelations surfaced, his support in early voting states was high, with conservatives who were suspicious of Mr Romney warming to Mr Cain's unconventional CV and his promise of dramatic tax cuts.

Mr Cain was one of several candidates to have found the party faithful's political core, only to lose support when the media spotlight was trained on them.

Mr Romney has so far failed to break above about 25 per cent in polls of Republican voters because of sustained criticism from the right that he adopted his current conservative positions only recently – after leaving the Governor's office in Boston. Party supporters consistently tell pollsters they fear Mr Romney will immediately tack to the centre on winning the nomination.

Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential nominee, stoked that concern anew by refusing to accept the contest had become a two-horse race between Mr Romney and Mr Gingrich.

"If voters start kind of shifting gears and decided they want ideological consistency, then they're going to start paying attention to say, Rick Santorum," she told Fox News. Her comments came on the heels of an uncomfortable interview for Mr Romney on Fox, in which he was challenged repeatedly on his changing political positions. Yesterday, Mr Santorum took to ABC television to pitch himself as the next "not Romney". He said: "There is no question Mitt has moved. The question is, what is the sincerity of the move?"

Ms Bachmann, whose campaign appeared to have peaked in the summer, predicted a comeback. "A lot of Herman Cain supporters have been calling our office and they've been coming over to our side," she told CNN.

How the party's backing is split: Latest GOP poll from Iowa

Newt Gingrich 25 per cent
Ron Paul  18 per cent
Mitt Romney 16 per cent
Michele Bachmann 8 per cent
Herman Cain 8 per cent
Rick Perry 6 per cent
Rick Santorum 6 per cent
Jon Huntsman 2 per cent

Source: Des Moines Register

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living